Perdita Durango review

The English-language debut of Spanish director Alex De La Iglesia is an adaptation of Wild At Heart-scribe Barry Gifford's novel 59° And Raining: The Story Of Perdita Durango.

Set on either side of the American-Mexican border, it stars Rosie Perez as Perdita, a smouldering femme fatale, who hooks up with the bank thief/grave-robber cum witch doctor Romeo (Javier Barem), a devotee of the Santeria cult. They kidnap a white teen-age couple (Aimee Graham, Harley Cross), intending to use them as sacrifices to appease the gods, but wind up transporting them to Vegas with a truckload of foetuses that they have to deliver to a Mafia boss. However, the DEA are on their tail...

Peppered by flashbacks, the plot is an excuse for a series of overblown, bloodthirsty set-pieces. Colourfully filmed in widescreen and charismatically acted by Bardem and Perez, Perdita Durango remains, at heart, comic-strip film-making. Sharp one-liners abound ("'you look like an extra from a bad Black Sabbath video"') but there's no emotional resonance. And several scenes, most notably the rape of a teenager, are acutely distasteful.

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