Entertainment Magazine

Tarantino in Review: ‘True Romance’

Posted on the 23 January 2013 by House Of Geekery @houseofgeekery

true romanceDirector: Tony Scott

Cast: Christian Slater, Rosanna Arquette, Michael Rapport, Denis Hopper, James Gandolfini, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Val Kilmer

Synopsis: After being caught up in a whirlwind romance comic shop worker Clarence and call girl Alabama find themselves with a substantial amount of drugs on their hands. They hit the road with the intention of making a quick sell and starting a new life together.

Review: Although Tarantino did not actually direct this script, selling it to the studio who handed the reins to the late Tony Scott, it has the auters grubby fingerprints all over it. Not to downplay the strength of the actors or the director but the star of the movie is the script. The characters and the dialog carry the film far better than any other aspect of the film.

Anyone familiar with the life and personality of Tarantino will recognize many common traits between him and Clarence. The loud shirts, Elvis glasses and long of kung-fu movies and assorted pop-culture are pretty much what you got in interviews at the time. In hindsight the character of Clarence is something of a personification of his films – paying homage to forgotten trends, respecting pop-culture as an art of shamelessly passionate. Slater does a solid job playing Clarence in one of his last good roles. Arquette isn’t quite as good playing Alabama, some of the more emotional moments fall flat due to a forced delivery, especially the closing narrative (more on the changed ending later).

clarence alabama

Doing much better with the material they’ve been given are the supporting cast. Among them are Hopper playing a recovering alcoholic father to Clarence and shares the best scene in the movie with gangster Christopher Walken. Gary Oldman is on fine form playing the revolting pimp Drexl and a young Brad Pitt provides welcome comic relief in a small role as a Californian stoner.

true romance brad pitt

Under the direction of Tony Scott the movie is directed competently. For the most part the dialog and action have kept things pretty close to the original script with the major differences being a linear progression of the story and a happier ending. The direction is pretty run-of-the-mill and there’s little to set it apart from other examples of the genre aside from the great script. Whilst some people, Tarantino included, are happy with the ‘happily ever after’ finale added by Scott is does really go against the tone of the movie. After all the blistering and bloody violence a hokey ending with a cheesy and badly delivered voice over feels like a cop out.

true romance christopher walken

Another major flaw is the soundtrack. Songs range from cheesy to misplaced and the main theme sounds like it’s lifted from a Christmas special. Something in tone with story and the characters would’ve gone a long way to polishing the film. It’s not Hans Zimmer’s finest work.

Score: SEVEN outta TEN

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