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Review: Wild Things (1998)

Directed by: John McNaughton | 108 minutes | drama, crime, thriller | Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Denise Richards, Theresa Russell, Daphne Rubin- Vega, Bill Murray, Robert Wagner, Carrie Snodgress, Jeff Perry, Corey Pendergast, Marc Macaulay, Toi Svane Stepp, Dennis Neal, Eduardo Yanez, Paulo Benedeti , Diane Adams, Jennifer Bini Taylor, Victoria Bass

Initially, “Wild Things” appears to be the type of film of which there are thirteen in a dozen, a about a not very original theme (teacher of the ideal son-in-law type is falsely accused of rape). But appearances can be deceiving. Rather than walking the beaten path, “Wild Things” evolves into an expertly crafted crime with a plethora of surprising and original twists. The viewer is regularly misled and the creators reveal the exact details of the story only at the end. The viewer is thus forced to continue to follow the story with concentration and to appeal to his or her puzzling skills.

The acting in “Wild Things” is of highly variable quality. Kevin Bacon convinces as the unscrupulous and bribable detective Ray Duquette and also plays the role of Sam Lombardo, the multi-faced teacher. However, is less convincing than the spoiled litter Kelly Van Ryan, while Neve Campbell impresses again as the hard-to-fathom and shut out girl Suzie Marie. also pops up in a nice supporting role as the crafty and unreliable lawyer of Suzie Marie. What is striking is that in “Wild Things” there are almost only beautiful people walking around most of the time in revealing clothing and usually driving around in beautiful cars. The film therefore suffers a bit from the “Aaron Spelling syndrome”, although this image is somewhat nuanced by also showing the poor circumstances under which, in particular, Suzie Marie and her parents live. In this way, “Wild Things” briefly examines the large income disparities that largely determine the socio-economic landscape of contemporary Florida (and that of the United States in general).

Despite a few minor flaws, “Wild Things” is definitely recommended. The film exudes a nice sweltering atmosphere and the many plot changes ensure that the at first glance not even very impressive story remains fascinating for almost the full 108 minutes.

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