Michael Hewis’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Return to Lynch's World Part #3 - The weirdest film in Lynch's filmography in tone. Yes, there are unnerving events in many of his films, but Wild At Heart was always the one in danger of becoming weird for the sake of weird. You mention Crispin Glover's cameo as a Christmas obsessed man who puts cockroaches into his underwear and Wild At Heart is immediately the weirdest film in Lynch's filmography in terms of what people expect that term to mean. I was not a big fan of Wild At Heart for this very specific reason for a long while, as if Lynch, like many who saw this film thought, became a parody of himself before getting back on track with Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. Even Nicolas Cage at his mad best couldn't prevent the film from feeling like a disconnected series of strange events.
Revisiting it, I accept it on its terms, and its grown on me. Somehow, in the middle of all the bizarre characters and situations, the rampant sex and the gore, the Wizard of Oz references, its reigned in by the sincerity of Cage and Lauren Dern as two rebellious lovers. The title of the film is pitch perfect in describing the real center of the film, where the world is " wild at heart and weird on top", the motto of the film. Only four years later, Oliver Stone would tackle, through his issues with television culture, the idea of how insane the world was in the nineties from an American point-of-view with Natural Born Killers, but here with all the strange, creepy individuals like Bobby Peru stalking about and death continually being reported on the radio, the notion that someone like Cage's character, who kills a man brutally in the first scene, is far more saner and sympathetic than everything else makes sense. When faced with the somber scene of the car accident the central duo pass at night, the turning point for the film, the movie is trying to wrangle both an ironic and sincere tone that is both troubling and very divisive, exactly the same issue with Natural Born Killers. Unlike Quentin Tarantino though and a lot of nineties cinema in this vein, both Wild At Heart and Natural Born Killers are far more difficult to digest, a lot more to have to negotiate about their tones. This is also why, in hindsight, Wild At Heart is the really "difficult" movie in Lynch's career. Lost Highway and INLAND EMPIRE, as abstract as the later especially is are, make sense in the style Lynch is know to work with regularly. Wild At Heart suddenly throws Sheryl Lee onto the screen as the Good Witch of the South from The Wizard of Oz and forces you to have to expect it. The film is well made, uses music incredibly, and its one of the strongest films in the career of everyone in the cast, especially Cage, but you have to negotiate around a film that, ironically, was clearly more mainstream originally for Lynch but feels so much more baffling in the tangents it goes through.