Blu-ray Review: Perdita Durango

STUDIO: Severin Films | DIRECTOR: Álex de la Iglesia | CAST: Rosie Perez, Javier Bardem, Harley Cross, Aimee Graham, James Gandolfini,
RELEASE DATE: March 31, 2021 | PRICE: Blu-ray $34.95, 4K UHD Blu-ray $34.99
BONUSES: interviews, appraisals, featurettes
SPECS: NR | 130 min. | Cult crime action adventure | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2 | Audio  1/2 | Video  1/2 | Overall  1/2

A loose sequel to David Lynch’s Wild at Heart and available on video at one time in an edited version retitled Dance with the Devil from the long defunct A-Pix label, Perdita Durango in a lurid, super-charged road odyssey from Spanish cult master Álex de la Iglesia (The Last Circus and the similarly re-issued Day of the Beast), whose latest effort is the occult-oriented HBO Max TV series 30 Coins.

The 1997 film stars Rosie Perez as the title character, a drifter who teams with Santería-practicing mystery man (Javier Bardem, Skyfall) on a crime spree that involves robbing banks, hijacking a truckload of unborn fetuses and an evil plan involving two young women that they kidnap. The film starts off with a bang and goes even more berserk as it goes along.

Boasting the scantily-clad Perez and magnetically malevolent Bardem, both smoldering and unhinged in the lead roles, this unapologetically politically incorrect effort also offers a colorful and eclectic supporting cast that includes James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Don Stroud (The Choirboys), director Alex Cox, singer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Aimee Graham and Harley Cross.

As expected from those who have seen any of director de la Iglesia’s other work, the English-language Perdita Durango tackles sex, violence and no shortage of unsettling material with style and gusto. Those willing to indulge themselves are in for a wild cinematic treat, filled with surprises, not all of them pleasant, but sure to raise curiosity and maybe even repulsion in equal measures.

Releasing company Severin has done the cabal of the director’s fans a great service by finally putting out the film out in a gorgeous restoration that runs the full director-approved cut of 129 minutes in its proper 2:35:1 ratio. It’s available as a single Blu-Ray and in a deluxe 4K/UHD 2-disc set.

The package is loaded with impressive extras, including interviews with author Barry Gifford, who penned the book and the other six novels in the “Sailor and Lulu” series; cinematographer Flavio Labiano; an appraisal by horror film scholar Rebekah McKendry; and an interview with composer Simon Boswell. Of special note an extra is an extensive interview with de la Iglesia, who recounts the inside story of how this one-of-a-kind film was made, including the fact he was the third director in line to handle the project (after things didn’t work out with Bigas Luna and Pedro Almodovar); the bizarre problems filming in Tijuana; his gung-ho, guerilla-style working relationship with Perez and Bardem; the serious dangers encountered during production; and the compromises that had be made post-production after the director asserted that no compromises would be made during filming.

Buy or Rent Perdita Durango

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.