Dance with the Devil
Some movies are crafted like a fine masterpiece others are not. Unfortunately, Dance with the Devil (Perdita Durango) is in the later category. The story follows a young Hispanic woman, Perdita (Rosie Perez). While on the border between Texas and Mexico she meets a Santeria sorcerer, Romeo (Javier Bardem). They embark upon a crime spree that includes theft, murder, mass destruction and rape. Hot on the trail of Romeo is an American lawman flatly played by the Sopranos James Gandolfini. This film rambles on with little in the way of plot, motivation or character development. The film is a weak excuse for explosions, gunfire and brutal sexual exploitation.
The acting in this film is minimal. Perez does little more than curse as she chain smokes and prances around with her blouse half undone. Her Bronx accent is completely out of place here. Bardem as the sadistic sorcerer plays his character too over the top to be believed at all. Some actors can handle an over the top part. Gary Oldman comes to mind as one of the best actors to play flamboyant villains but unlike Bardem, Oldman has talent. Gandolfini was definitely slumming here. He is a talented actor who can play a wide range of roles but his talent is greatly hindered by the lack of plot and direction.
Speaking of lack of direction, Alex de la Iglesia should have asked for his name to be removed from this film. This film is one of five that he has co-written and directed. I have little interest in seeing any other of his films. The set up of the shots was pedestrian. His staging of the scenes showed little imagination. His use of camera techniques is something that would most likely get a failing grade in any film school. Some movies are so bad they become cult classics. Others, like this one, just remain listed as bad films.
The one redeeming quality of this DVD is the production of the disc itself. A-Pix may be a smaller studio but they care about the production standards of their discs. They use the DVD mastering company Henninger, which provides excellent DVD, transfers. The 2.35:1 non-anamorphic transfer is flawless. The Dolby 5.1 sound is of extremely professionally done. The sound field separation is incredibly good especially consider the minimal value of the film. Since this company put so much into a poor film I look forward to their production of better films. (they do produce such films and I look forward to getting them). Pass this disc by but keep an eye out for other releases from A-Pix.