I had to see this movie in spite of all the bad reviews, simply because of Keira Knightley’s haircut. I mean, what a cool haircut! I remember trying for a pretty similar look in the mid-80s, when I was about 13 years old. I even bleached my bangs, surfer style.

To my surprise, I actually ending up liking the movie, in spite of the violence. It was funny and also a visual treat. Funky, weird, flourescent colors, and a fun, uber-hip, toungue-in-cheek soundtrack. Nothing very deep, mind you, in this movie – but creative, fun, and full of surprises. In the most surreal scene at the movie’s temporal and narrative center, the soundtrack has a couple of Tom Waits songs, like:

Jesus gonna be here
Gonna be here soon …

And then Tom Waits himself shows up! He plays a grizzled old preacher who runs around waving the Bible at everyone out in the desert and makes a bizarre but poetic prophesy. It’s wild! I love Tom Waits and had no idea he would turn up in this movie, of all places. I first discovered his music in Germany, when I subletted a friend’s apartment the last few weeks I was there and got to listen to her record collection (yes, vinyl records – for those of you too young to remember, people used to play them on turntables after 8-tracks went out of fashion and before iPods were invented), and listened to Swordfishtrombones about a hundred times. So cool!

This movie is not for everyone, but if you’ve ever secretly yearned to wear thick black eyeliner and go around punching people who annoy you, if you’ve ever had anything remotely resembling a goth or teen rocker or punk or straight edge or other youthful angsty rebellious phase, if you ever liked any 80s band involving gelled hair (a la The Cure, the Thomspon Twins, Generation X, the Clash, britpop generally, or Nick Cave), I’d say: What the hell, go see it.

Nick Cave (left) appearing in the 1988 film Wings of Desire, with gelled hair

Update: I this this New York Times review the best.

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