• FILM

  • SEARCH FOR

Mala Noche

Directed by Gus Van Sant. Starring Tim Streeter, Doug Cooeyate, Ray Monge. (1985, NR, 78 min.)

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Jan. 10, 1992

What's it about getting behind the wheel and getting it on that seemingly compels writer/director Gus Van Sant to draw comparisons between the two in his films? In the 1989 film Drugstore Cowboy, the most memorable line is uttered when Kelly Lynch complains about husband Matt Dillon's lack of conjugal attention: “You never fuck me, and I always have to drive.” In the earlier 1986 film Mala Noche, it comes when the reckless Mexican boy with whom Tim Streeter is infatuated runs the car off the road: “You drive like you fuck!” Van Sant's first major film (his most recent is My Own Private Idaho), the gritty, low-budget Mala Noche is a mordant take on unrequited love set in the skid row of Portland, Oregon. Its initial arrival was breathtaking: it marked the promise of an original voice in a medium increasingly applauding mediocrity. Although activists have criticized Van Sant as a self-loathing gay man who doesn't toe the politically correct line, such faultfinding fails to appreciate that Van Sant's preoccupation with those romantic interlopers who tenuously exist on the fringes has little to do with the matter of sexual orientation. If witnessing raw talent at work excites you, then see this diamond-in-the-rough in its return engagement.

READ MORE
More Gus Van Sant
History Circles Its Tail
History Circles Its Tail
Gus Van Sant on the life of Seventies crusader Harvey Milk and the parallels between then and now

Clay Smith, Dec. 5, 2008

More Gus Van Sant Films
Promised Land
Matt Damon and John Krasinski star in this modern morality tale about fracking in America; Gus Van Sant directs.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Jan. 4, 2013

Restless

Gus Van Sant hits a rare discordant note with this story about two death-obsessed teens that is twee and precious instead of genuine and candid.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Oct. 7, 2011

More by Steve Davis
Florence Foster Jenkins
Meryl Streep plays the doyenne called “the worst singer in the world”

Aug. 12, 2016

Nine Lives
Kevin Spacey gets trapped inside the body of his family's cat

Aug. 12, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Mala Noche, Gus Van Sant, Tim Streeter, Doug Cooeyate, Ray Monge

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
This content has not been formatted for this window size.
Please increase the size of your browser window, or revisit this page on a mobile device.
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)