Newest Reviews
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
We Need to Do Something
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Newest Articles
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
  Slam Dance Pogo your cares away
Year: 1987
Director: Wayne Wang
Stars: Tom Hulce, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Virginia Madsen, Don Keith Opper, Adam Ant, Harry Dean Stanton, John Doe, Millie Perkins, Herta Ware, Judith Barsi, Robert Beltran, Rosalind Chao, Sasha Delgado, Joshua Caceras, Marty Levy
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cartoonist C.C. Drood (Tom Hulce) has a successful career, a cute little daughter (the tragically short-lived Judith Barsi) and is on good terms with his ex-wife (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). But his life turns upside down one night when he returns home to find his apartment ransacked by a sinister man (Don Keith Opper), who promptly knocks him unconscious. Awakening in the back of a car, Drood is quizzed by the gun-toting stranger and his equally menacing accomplice (John Doe) as to whether a mysterious woman left him any kind of package. With no idea what they are talking about, Drood makes his escape only to learn that the woman in question is Yolanda Caldwell (Virginia Madsen), with whom he once had a torrid affair. It turns out Yolanda is dead, presumed murdered and the police want to ask him some questions. Drood sets out to solve the murder himself, but in uncovering a complex conspiracy ends up on the run from the cops after another woman is found dead at his apartment.

There seems to be a film noir revival every ten years or so, what with John Dahl almost single-handedly keeping the flag flying throughout the Nineties or such recent examples of neo-noir as The Square (2008) or Drive (2011). In the 1980s there seemed to be a concerted effort among filmmakers to fuse neo-noir with stylistic elements from the post-punk new wave. Witness the French “cinema du look” classic Diva (1981), William Friedkin’s MTV infected To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Alan Parker’s moody though overrated Angel Heart (1987) and certainly Slam Dance, director Wayne Wang’s first genre outing after his early run of quirky comedy-dramas.

The whole oh-so-Eighties new wave vibe is evident right from the zany font featured in the opening credits, the alternately grating and evocative soundtrack by pop producer Mitchell Froom and the fact not only does punk rocker John Doe essay one of the main antagonists but Drood’s best friend is played by Adam Ant, for crying out loud. The erstwhile Prince Charming gives a pretty decent performance despite telling a whole host of terrible jokes, like “How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb?” The answer is: “Fish.” Get it? And there is the title which comes into play in a cathartic sequence where a downtrodden Drood joins a host of punks pogo-dancing at a nightclub, leaping and laughing his troubles away like a loon. It is oddly affecting.

Following an outstanding, Oscar-nominated turn in the awesome Amadeus (1984), Tom Hulce plays C.C. Drood in slightly irksome fashion as a zany man-child. He is an unusual protagonist for this sort of thriller but his performance matches the film’s off-kilter tone that switches from broad comedy to sincere, surprisingly sensitive drama. Drood’s alternately cordial and strained relationship with his ex-wife is nicely drawn and well played by Hulce and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Wang’s leisurely, observational direction teases out quirky peripheral details and offbeat incidents. One suspenseful, well handled scene sees Drood attempt to sneak into a high society bash only to discover the host (Millie Perkins, of The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)) knows who he is. However, the oppressive noir tone does not always gel comfortably with scenes of cracked comedy detailing Drood’s struggles with his deaf landlady or when a small child whacks him in the nuts with a rubber chicken (!)

Actor Don Keith Opper, who plays Drood’s enigmatic nemesis, also wrote the screenplay. His previous work as both writer and actor included offbeat science fiction films Android (1981) and City Limits (1984) and he went on to further cult fame as Charlie McFadden, goofy hero of Critters (1986) and its three sequels. Opper’s script is deliberately vague about story details and invites the viewer to piece together the fragmented narrative, but the continuing confrontations between his character and Drood grow tiresomely repetitive. Wang’s flashy mise-en-scene fails to advance the story but the resolution is unexpected and interesting.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2461 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: