|Index||3 reviews in total|
For me this film turned out to be a very good example where one may do well not to rely on what people say about the film itself, about the director, or of his other films. As of my review the film is rated 3.7 and looking at the breakdown no idea on how that was arrived at. More 10s than any other single rating. A happily married woman with small children finds her life upended when her love from the past drops by to see her. Excellent story, well acted, credible. Cast well chosen. Not a film where you know what is coming next. This is a very early Zalman King film and if you are looking for erotica you won't find any here. Very nicely done.
"Wildfire" (1988) tries hard to be a strong drama, but it misses. When
you miss with this kind of a story, it's mainly because the characters
and their actions don't hang together. They then become faintly or even
a lot ridiculous. Before that happens, the pain of watching them
becomes rather excruciating and one is strongly tempted to hit the
The basic story idea is sound. It's just that the way it's developed is faulty. The central character is Linda Fiorentino's "Kay". She's grown up as an orphan with Steven Bauer's "Frank". We have to believe that they're young and stupid because he tries to rob a bank with a toy pistol and gets shot in the bargain and sent to prison for 8 years. But at the same time, the two of them are almost always "nice", except that Frank loses his self-control every now and again, while Kay seems to have a host of hangups, a weak character, an inferiority complex and doesn't trust her husband, "Mike" (Will Patton), even after 8 years of marriage and two children. She doesn't handle the situation well when Frank shows up after 8 years, and Mike doesn't handle it well either. But Frank wheedles Kay into one situation after another, constantly pleading and then dangling the bait of locating her mom.
It's tough to watch characters who are at such a loss how to handle situations, one after another, and to see great divides open up because of it. A spark of backbone here and there by Kay seems constantly to melt away. What is she thinking? Of course, there would not be a story if she acted sensibly; but what kind of a story is it when almost everything depends on her not having much gumption? The ending goes over the top altogether. I think the writers set themselves a challenge that they could not meet. They wanted a divide to come into the marriage and they wanted Kay to reluctantly go off with Frank, at least temporarily, while not exactly running off with him and not really falling for him again. It's more an act on her part of sympathy to the man who is trying to reform himself and part of tidying up the loose ends of her earlier life. But she didn't communicate any of this to her husband. At the same time, she took one step after another that tied her to Frank. It was too hard to write this in a convincing way and the actors and direction were not strong enough to pull it off.
It was quite painful watching this movie even though it's not terrible. Not really my cup of tea.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The problem with Wildfire, is that I don't know what it is supposed to be.
It starts out as a sentimental love story between two orphaned children
turned married teenagers(?) Poor and pregnant, Frank (Bauer) and Kate
(Florentino) decide to hold up a bank. Actually, it was Frank's brilliant
idea, and it's what gets him a prison term.
Meanwhile, Kate who may or may have not been a teenager, is sent to live with a foster family, where she lives for some eight years. There, she meets Mike (Patton), who eventually becomes her husband.
Ol' Mike and Frank both exhibit that wierd Lifetime Television wife beater vibe. Mike the obsessive gets out of jail and wants to reunite with his wife. But not in that psychotic "if i can't have you, nobody can" kind of way. He just thinks he can pick up where he left off and that Kate will go along with it.
She does kind of linger with him for awhile, and this obviously angers her husband, Mike. As Kate travels from upstate California to San Diego to eventually Mexico (at which point she wishes Frank would just let go and let her be), Mike follows them and even hires a bounty hunter to help look for the pair. In the search for his wife, the movie starts to become something of an action film -- fast cars, fist fights, the works.
Except at this point, nearing the end of the film, we are not told what happens to the bounty hunter. So, the action aspect of the film is left undiscovered, or is to be assumed over. Because now in Mexico, this is Kate's last opportunity to convince Frank to let go. And Frank will only do that in death. So you get the picture, right?
It's a strange movie that picks up towards the middle, once you figure out what the real relationship is between Kate and Frank or Kate and Mike. She's a very unresponsive character for the most part of the film, and is really just reactionary towards the male characters. Plus, when you're trying to figure out what's going on with Kate, she spends half the time crying. That's why it's kind of hard to figure out. I'm not fond of movies where actors don't get much dialogue or don't really reveal (at least not on purpose) what their character is all about.
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