Also known as Dance With the Devil, Perdita Durango was directed by Álex de la Iglesia and stars Rosie Perez and Javier Bardem. The film is based on a book (59° and Raining: The Story of Perdita Durango) by Barry Gifford. It’s a very strange film.
At heart, the film is a darkly humorous road trip, taken in the company of two people with absolutely no redeeming features. Perdita Durango (Perez) and Romeo Dolorosa (Bardem) meet each other on the Mexican border and embark on a cross-border rampage that embraces kidnap, murder and much, much else. There is also a MacGuffin about Dolorosa being hired to deliver a truck load of aborted foetuses to a Las Vegas cosmetics company, because if you are going to wallow in nihilism, then half-measures just don’t cut it.
Álex de la Iglesia is clearly setting out to push boundaries and the nature of the film puts it into very similar territory to Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. What sets this film apart, though, is a self-conscious sense of irony throughout that ensures that the satirical point is never lost.
The film does have it’s lighter moments, most of which are provided by James Gandolfini’s appallingly accident-prone special agent Woody Dumas. Even here, though, the humour is so dark that you find yourself simultaneously cringing and laughing.
Ultimately, Perdita Durango is an amoral love story and a pitch black comedy about two people who have given up on society and whose casual malice challenges the conventions and tears away many of the illusions upon which we all rely.
The film ends much as you would expect but it is surprising just how much you come to care about them over the course of their journey.