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Review: True Romance (1993)

Directed by: | 120 minutes | , | Actors: , , , , Gary Oldman, , , , , , Samuel L. Jackson,

The action movie ‘True ’ will always be associated with Quentin Tarantino, just as the animated movie ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ is associated with . Because, even though these people were not in the director’s chair when the films were made – these were Tony Scott and Henry Selick respectively – they both managed to leave their mark on the production through and through. In the case of ‘True Romance’ it goes so far that the almost feels like a kind of greatest hits album by Tarantino, with many of his hobby horses and favorite figures of speech passing by and practically every scene exuding its atmosphere. Even the main character – a tough comic book fanatic with Elvis as his muse – appears to be some kind of dream version of Tarantino himself. Although it is custom to say ‘True Romance’, because of the other director at the helm, seen as a “watered-down” Tarantino film, which can only be inferior to his “real”, own work, the truth is that working with Scott has resulted in a wonderful, smooth his combination of traditional, accessible direction with an explosive content, stimulating dialogue, colorful characters, and a mouth-watering cast can by no means be dismissed as mediocre. Just because of the now classic confrontation scene between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, ‘True Romance’ is a film to cherish. But luckily the rest of the film can be there too. has produced a smooth film, which in its combination of a traditional, accessible direction with an explosive content, stimulating dialogue, colorful characters and a mouth-watering cast, can by no means be dismissed as mediocre. Just because of the now classic confrontation scene between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, ‘True Romance’ is a film to cherish. But luckily the rest of the film can be there too. has produced a smooth film, which in its combination of a traditional, accessible direction with an explosive content, stimulating dialogue, colorful characters and a mouth-watering cast, can by no means be dismissed as mediocre. Just because of the now classic confrontation scene between Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, ‘True Romance’ is a film to cherish. But luckily the rest of the film can be there too.

True Romance was made in 1993, after Reservoir Dogs and before Pulp Fiction, and both films feature in the script. As with ‘Reservoir Dogs’, Tarantino takes a simple, existing genre, then breathes new life into it with its cool characters, hip dialogue, and references to popular culture. In ‘Reservoir Dogs’ it was the “Heist” movie that got a makeover, and here it is the “lovers on the run” movie – in the tradition of ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ – who gave a loving will be processed. Just like in ‘Reservoir Dogs’, the film starts with a witty, sexual dialogue, in this case about whether you would like to share the bed with Elvis. Clarence Worley (Slater) admits to a woman in a bar that he could do it with Elvis if he had to choose a man for this. The woman doesn’t think he’s a bad match either. “At least we have that in ,” says Clarence. “We would both do it with Elvis.” While this may seem like a rock-solid foundation for a good relationship, it doesn’t turn out to be enough. She doesn’t like kung fu movies, and for Clarence that really means that they have no future together.

Some moments from ‘True Romance’ can almost literally be found in ‘Pulp Fiction’, such as the love for fast food (and a character’s comment – while taking a bite – that he has never eaten such a tasty hamburger) , and the creative way of asking another character if he is trying to sew him (an ear on). But most important are the “touches” that give the film and the characters breathing space and color. Like the unique caresses between Clarence and Alabama, which still make you feel like they have a strong bond, even though they’ve only just met (they got married after one night). Or the way in which the bad guys never just shoot someone but first unleash an informative, and often slightly sadistic monologue on the future victim. For example, some nerve-racking confrontations take place in the film, in which the tension can be cut and there are almost only exchanges of glances in the calm before the storm. Like in the first real showdown in the movie, between Clarence and Drexl (“What’s a Drexl?” He asks Alabama), the Alabama pimp, white but with dreadlocks and assuming he’s black. The highly flammable, penetrating looking Drexl, played by an amazing Gary Oldman, has a brief but memorable appearance in the film. white but with dreadlocks and assuming he is black. The highly flammable, penetrating looking Drexl, played by an amazing Gary Oldman, has a brief but memorable appearance in the film. white but with dreadlocks and assuming he is black. The highly flammable, penetrating looking Drexl, played by an amazing Gary Oldman, has a brief but memorable appearance in the film.

The latter also applies to Christopher Walken who, together with Dennis Hopper, provides the most indelible moment in the film. Walken plays Vincenco Coccotti, the right-hand man of Blue Lou Boyle, a feared mobster and owner of the cocaine Clarence accidentally acquired when he went to collect Alabama’s stuff from Drexl. Coccotti takes a look at Police Officer Hopper, who had received his son Clarence in his RV the day before, but when Hopper doesn’t reveal his location, an endlessly fascinating battle of words and intelligence ensues between these two veterans. Hopper already knows he is doomed, but takes his time to – in all courtesy – tell Walken a story about his ancestors (namely that Sicilians have Negro blood) that, to say the least, will not fall into good soil. With his face already beaten half to a pulp, Hopper asks for a cigarette and begins his story quietly, while the melancholy Flower Duet from Delibes’ opera Lakmé starts. As Hopper’s story progresses, Walken smiles more and more as he looks sideways at his likewise smiling buddies, but inside he is boiling with rage. As a viewer, you expect the gruesome ending to occur for Hopper at any moment, but this moment is always postponed until it becomes almost unbearable. When Hopper is done, it’s not even done with him right away. Walken keeps smiling and calls him “beautiful”, turning to his mates to prepare for his next and final step. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene. With his face already beaten half to a pulp, Hopper asks for a cigarette and begins his story quietly, while the melancholy Flower Duet from Delibes’ opera Lakmé starts. As Hopper’s story progresses, Walken smiles more and more as he looks sideways at his likewise smiling buddies, but inside he is boiling with rage. As a viewer, you expect the gruesome ending to occur for Hopper at any moment, but this moment is always postponed until it becomes almost unbearable. When Hopper is done, it’s not even done with him right away. Walken keeps smiling and calls him “beautiful”, turning to his mates to prepare for his next and final step. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene. With his face already beaten half to a pulp, Hopper asks for a cigarette and begins his story quietly, while the melancholy Flower Duet from Delibes’ opera Lakmé starts. As Hopper’s story progresses, Walken smiles more and more as he looks sideways at his likewise smiling buddies, but inside he is boiling with rage. As a viewer, you expect the gruesome ending to occur for Hopper at any moment, but this moment is always postponed until it becomes almost unbearable. When Hopper is done, it’s not even done with him right away. Walken keeps smiling and calls him “beautiful”, turning to his mates to prepare for his next and final step. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene. while the melancholy Flower Duet from Delibes’ opera Lakmé starts. As Hopper’s story progresses, Walken smiles more and more as he looks sideways at his likewise smiling buddies, but inside he is boiling with rage. As a viewer, you expect the gruesome ending to occur for Hopper at any moment, but this moment is always postponed until it becomes almost unbearable. When Hopper is done, it’s not even done with him right away. Walken keeps smiling and calls him “beautiful”, turning to his mates to prepare for his next and final step. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene. while the melancholy Flower Duet from Delibes’ opera Lakmé starts. As Hopper’s story progresses, Walken smiles more and more as he looks sideways at his likewise smiling buddies, but inside he is boiling with rage. As a viewer, you expect the gruesome ending to occur for Hopper at any moment, but this moment is always postponed until it becomes almost unbearable. When Hopper is done, it’s not even done with him right away. Walken keeps smiling and calls him “beautiful”, turning to his mates to prepare for his next and final step. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene. but inside he is boiling with rage. As a viewer, you expect the gruesome ending to occur for Hopper at any moment, but this moment is always postponed until it becomes almost unbearable. When Hopper is done, it’s not even done with him right away. Walken keeps smiling and calls him “beautiful”, turning to his mates to prepare for his next and final step. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene. but inside he is boiling with rage. As a viewer you expect the gruesome ending to happen for Hopper at any moment, but this moment is always postponed until it becomes almost unbearable. When Hopper is done, it’s not even done with him right away. Walken keeps smiling and calls him “beautiful”, turning to his mates to prepare for his next and final step. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene. and final step to prepare. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene. and final step to prepare. A beautiful, classic Tarantino scene.

While one memorable scene after another can be remembered, the film is not perfect. The film is episodic and predictable in the long run, and some scenes could have been played out a bit longer or blended better. Tarantino’s montage and shot choices are often a bit more creative and provocative than Tony Scott’s, although Scott’s parallel montages are often well taken during the violent moments. It may also be possible to cut corners on the very rosy (and unbelievable) ending, but given the surprising emotions and tenderness that Scott manages to put into the film, this is probably the atmosphere that the viewer expects and deserves. It’s remarkable, but ‘True Romance’ manages to live up to its title despite the hefty doses of blood, shootouts, and tough dialogues: the relationship between Clarence and Alabama is truly . Just like Clarence’s father, the viewer must conclude that Slater and Arquette are a “cute” couple, and he really grants these “low-income children” their dream future. Perhaps Scott was just the right person to bring out this beating heart of the movie in an empathetic way (just as, according to Kubrick, Spielberg could handle the more emotional aspects of his ‘AI’ better than himself).

True Romance is not a profound film, nor does it really excel in one particular area, but put together there is so much beauty and entertainment in this film – so much action, suspense, humor (the hilarious supporting role of a half-stoned Brad Pitt hasn’t even been discussed yet), and so many perfectly cast actors – that he can be watched over and over without getting bored. True Romance is not only characterized by the strong relationship of its main characters. The “romance” between writer Tarantino and director Scott is, however short-lived, more than successful. This is pulp of the highest level.

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