Wild At Heart – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

If you’re a Region Free enthusiast like myself, you’ll know David Lynch’s Wild At Heart has had various Blu-ray releases over the years in different countries. In the United States, however, there’s been just one. It was a Twilight Time release that has been out of print for many years. Limited releases is their business model, like it or not. Their license on the film must have run out because now we have a brand new collector’s edition of the film from Shout! Factory putting it under the Shout Select banner which is very exciting. The new release with feature a new interview with the author of the book the film is based on, a special on the 40th anniversary screen and over an hour of deleted scenes to go along with previously released featurettes. Its available May 22nd, so get your pre-orders in below!


After serving prison time for a self-defense killing, Sailor Ripley reunites with girlfriend Lula Fortune. Lula’s mother, Marietta, desperate to keep them apart, hires a hit man to kill Sailor. But he finds a whole new set of troubles when he and Bobby Peru, an old buddy who’s also out to get Sailor, try to rob a store. When Sailor lands in jail yet again, the young lovers appear further than ever from the shared life they covet.

Wild At Heart is a fun, crazy hyper reality take on a familiar aesthetic as could only been seen through the lens of David Lynch. The film doesn’t hold itself to normal standards and isn’t afraid to break away unexpectedly into things like musical numbers or weird aside scenes. Yet still, its one of his more straightforward films. Not as much as a Blue Velvet, per se. While the narrative is more linear and straightforward, its how its told that is where it separates by being louder and wilder.

A Bonnie and Clyde style road movie that becomes far more interesting thanks to David Lynch and his cast makes Wild At Heart a interesting piece of the director’s art. Nicolas Cage has a nice weird and at the same time completely dorky sense of cool with his character of Sailor. Laura Dern manages to balance a fine line of obnoxious and charm. The two share a nice steamy youthful chemistry throughout the film that presents some depth and challenge among the pair as we go on the journey and see them sort of grow up and learn along the way.

There are fantastic supporting characters here. Diane Ladd is outstanding in here descent into madness. But, what Wild At Heart review wouldn’t stop to mention the brilliance of Bobby Peru. While the man has MANY memorable roles in a very handsome career, Willem Dafoe’s performance here is one for the ages. He is absolutely disgusting, batshit crazy and intimidating as hell. His menace makes a stamp on film history in this movie. He’ll make you uncomfortable, make you hate him and all the while you might get a chuckle or two at him. Its unreal.

Like any Lynch film, there is a lot to unpack, and I’d really like to write some further analysis on the film some day (As well as many of Lynch’s other works). As are the films themselves, it can be hard for me to unload my thoughts properly or feel confident that they are well formed. I will note that this is the R-Rated cut of the film. There’s a death in the film that had to be censored with a little bit of smoke in the final product to pass through the ratings board. I don’t think its a big deal, and its kinda funny because you can still see everything quite well. But, to some people those brief frames (maybe a second total) is a deal breaker. However, they did provide the shot in question as a bonus feature. Personally, I’m A-okay with this theatrical cut of the film as it still has the exact effect watching it unknowingly as it would if you watched uncensored.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: There is nothing noting this being a new transfer of the film, and I’m pretty sure its the same we’ve had before. Which, overall it looks rather nice, crisp (But with some intentionally glowy scenes) and strong with detail, precise with colors. There are some rough moments in dark exterior scenes, but otherwise this film looks more than solid. This could be improved upon for sure, but what we have is good for now and better and available as opposed to nothing at all or out of print.

Depth: When well lit, this features some really nice foreground/background relation with some solid distance between characters and environments. Movements are cinematic and smooth.

Black Levels: Blacks are the weak link here in this transfer. They have heavy grain in the night scenes and just look a bit messy. In regularly lit scenes, details are still pretty strong and discernible.

Color Reproduction: Reds really burst here in this image and stings but never really bleeds. From lipstick to shoes, cars and blood, it really pops. Most colors look strong, but that one takes center stage.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a little warm and stay consistent from start to finish. Facial features like stubble, lip texture, make-up, wrinkles, moles, freckles and Nic Cage’s prosthetic nose in a scene are quite apparent from most distances.

Noise/Artifacts: There are a couple specs and a very brief frame or 2 of print damage during one scene.


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: I believe this is the same 5.1 track that’s been on most of the Blu-rays for the film. And that’s probably a good thing. Its a loud and well woven mix that keeps things active and fun throughout. The music in the film sounds really rich in this mix too, which is a plus. I did find a moment around 1:39:00 that the audio briefly cut in and out as there was a closeup of someone opening a door.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Music booms as well as gunfire, engines and more, keeping the subwoofer really deep and active.

Surround Sound Presentation: This isn’t a hyper active track, but everything is placed and moves accurate to the screen. There are unique sounds placed throughout that do make it more than the front heavy performer it appears to be.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Wild At Heart – Collector’s Edition comes with reversible cover art featuring the original poster.

Interview With Novelist Barry Gilford (HD, 30:06) – The author defends Lynch’s choices and embraces the stamp the director put on the film despite what his fans think he would be feeling. In fact, he feels its enhanced and enriched the novel.

Extended And Deleted Scenes (HD, 1:16:10)

Uncensored Bobby Peru Scene (HD, :44)

Love, Death, Elvis and Oz: The Making of Wild At Heart (SD, 29:52) – A solid retrospective documentary from the DVD release of the film that features those like Lynch, Dern, Cage and Dafoe (and more) coming back to tell the tale of the film and its legacy. Its much nicer than something Shout Factory would have done if they had made one themselves, but its good enough.

Dell’s Lunch Counter: Extended Interviews (SD, 21:06) – Extra bits from cast and crew from their interviews seen in the other featurettes.

Specific Spontaneity: Focus On David Lynch (SD, 7:16) – This is pretty much actors from the film discussing working with David Lynch.

Lynch On The DVD Process (SD, 2:46) – Lynch talks a lot about color-timing in post production for films in general in this little snippet.

Original 1990 Making Of EPK (SD, 6:55) – A typical fluffy EPK with on-set footage, mostly an interview with David Lynch, though Cage, Dern, Rossellini and Dafoe get a couple tid bits in toward the end.

Original Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:52)

TV Spots (SD, 1:08)

Image Gallery (SD, 2:11)


Wild At Heart may not be one of the more championed David Lynch properties (Mullholland Drive, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Eraserhead), but it holds its own with them in terms of the director’s unique storytelling abilities. Shout! Factory’s new Collector’s Edition doesn’t have a new transfer or audio, but a new interview and rescuing some old bonus features is a plus. If you weren’t able to get the Twilight Time release, this one is here and feels more complete a release at a better price.


1 Response to “Wild At Heart – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Steve

    Thanks for the nice review! The weird thing is I had this on pre-order which was just cancelled yesterday, and now it’s basically been pulled from Amazon and DeepDiscountDVD, etc.. Some sites now showing it coming out at the end of August 🙁