MovieChat Forums > Wild at Heart (1990) Discussion > Tarantino did not 'rip off' Wild at Hear...

Tarantino did not 'rip off' Wild at Heart

If anything he was ripping off Alex Cox.

There is far more of Repo Man and Straight to Hell in Tarantino's work than anything by Lynch. In fact you could even say Lynch was ripping off Straight to Hell as much as Tarantino was ripping-off Lynch (n.b. contrary to popular belief Lynch did not invent surreal, slightly perverse or off-kilter depictions of classic Americana, he just popularized it).

Straight to Hell, with its exiled hit-men (one white, one black, both dressed in black suits and skinny ties) lost in a harsh and violent desert; where desperado's wage war with them; where seductive, possibly insane women want to sleep with them; where elements of film noir and spaghetti western are merged; where the dialogue is peppered with pop-culture references and pitch black humor; where the entire thing teeters between insanity, tongue in cheek farce, genre deconstruction and political satire.

There's more of Pulp Fiction and Wild at Heart in that description than there is elements of Lynch in Tarantino.

Tarantino's early style was essentially the cinematic approach of the French New Wave (early Godard in particular) combined with elements of film noir, Italian exploitation, Hong Kong crime thrillers, B-movies and the work of "new Hollywood" directors like De Palma and Scorsese.

Wild at Heart seems familiar only because it's Lynch's most post-modern film (it shares the same influences, chiefly youth on the run exploitation movies and Italian westerns); his other films tend to be more like distortions of classical Hollywood movies (Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity or Kiss Me Deadly filtered through influence of Cocteau and Maya Deren).


I don't know who ripped-off whom, but early Tarantino films remind me of Cox's films to some extent (dialogue and imagery from Repo Man & Straight to Hell in comparison to Reservoir Dogs f.e.)

Anyway, well written post.

...they mewstly come at night... mewstly.


"Rip-off" is an overused word. I think Tarantino puts a lot of things in a blender then makes a new pastiche out of them, but without really adding anything new or original, or that comes from anywhere other than from movies he's seen. He's the top fan-boy director, but that's not the same as being a true auteur like Scorsese, Kubrick, or David Lynch.

This movie and "True Romance", which Tarantino wrote but didn't direct have a lot in common. But I don't think anybody ripped anybody off. They just used a lot of the same inspirations. And neither is necessarily typical of the director's respective works anyway.


I fully agree about Tarantino. He may be the top fan-boy director, but he is also very talented. And imo your comparison to Scorsese, Kubrick, Lynch is valid as well.

In some other cases I smell "rip-off" e.g. Winding Refn with Drive.

...they mewstly come at night... mewstly.


I like Tarantino but he's pretty much ripped off every influential director.


Pretty much every director is 'ripping' some other director off. It's called influences and nearly all artists are influenced by what they've already experienced. Some are just better at hiding it than others or are able to add something new to it.

With Tarantino it is primarily his dialogue that brings some originality to the table. So as a director he may not be particularly original or in his general story telling but his writing style should be commended, especially his early screenplays up to and including Pulp Fiction.

His ability to write excellent dialogue if used on a film like Wild of Heart, could have elevated it a bit. Despite being only a few years older than Tarantino's movies, it has not aged quite as well and a few bits of dialogue seem a bit silly and are not things even these oddball characters would say. It is a weakness in Blue Velvet too. Don't get me wrong I love Blue Velvet but there were a couple of lines or so in that movie that were almost George Lucas bad, that in my mind make the film fall slightly short of perfection.

Ultimately it is not really fair to compare them in this way as directors and writers. They generally have different visual traits and mostly create different atmospheres. They both like writing about criminals or characters that behave outside of what is considered lawful or socially acceptable, but Tarantino does not focus on the weird in society like Lynch does. He tends to be dark and disturbing and far more critical of violence and crime. Crime tends not to pay in his films but not so much with Tarantino. Tarantino's characters may often act outside of the law but they are mostly 'normal' criminals. There will always be exceptions to this so anyone who reads this, don't quote a bizarre Tarantino character as I could list loads of Lynch ones.



Did you know Tarantino put lookalikes of Sailor and Lula having a meal in Jack Rabbits restaurant in Pulp Fiction...