'Marginalist' Criticism: An Infantile Disorder?

University of Nebraska Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Symploke, 2003, 11 (1-2), pp. 167 - 182
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At the close of Donald Cammell's last film Wild Side (1995), the female lead Alex (Anne Heche) crosses the Mexican border in the arms of a woman, Virginia (Joan Chen). Having worked as a merchant banker and confronted with the option of having to "turn tricks" with her male clients in order to keep her job, Alex turns hooker of her own accord. She wants her lifestyle and, she says, on her terms. But in the doing she falls into a web of criminal intrigue and she wants out. Succumbing to the wiles of Virginia, the money-laundering pawn of her gangster husband Bruno (Christopher Walken), Alex finds herself stitched into an elaborate scam from which, it appears, there is little chance of escape. But Alex and Virginia hatch a scam of their own, ultimately escaping to the margin Alex had always longed for. Casting a glance over her sleepy new "oriental" lover as they escape over the border into Mexico, Alex comes to the realisation that she belongs at the margin of her own existence; that she belongs in exile. And so goes the closing interior monologue: "Anyway, I'm finally crossing over, into the Third World, where I've always known I've belonged. I don't know why."
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