Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: R18
Christian Slater as Clarence Worley
Patricia Arquette as Alabama Whitman
Dennis Hopper as Clifford Worley
Val Kilmer as Elvis
Gary Oldman as Drexl Spivey
Brad Pitt as Floyd
Christopher Walken as Vincenzo Coccotti
Bronson Pinchot as Elliot Blitzer
Samuel L. Jackson as Don “Big Don”
Director: Tony Scott
A comic-book nerd and Elvis fanatic Clarence (Christian Slater) and a prostitute named Alabama (Patricia Arquette) fall in love. Clarence breaks the news to her pimp and ends up killing him. He grabs a suitcase of cocaine on his way out thinking it is Alabama’s clothing. The two hit the road for California hoping to sell the cocaine, but the mob is soon after them.
True Romance was a movie that I had been meaning to watch for some time. I knew that it was one of Quentin Tarantino’s earliest scripts which he sold so he could make Reservoir Dogs, and which was directed by Tony Scott instead. It didn’t disappoint.
As expected, Tarantino’s script is great. True Romance definitely contains a lot of his trademarks: snappy dialogue, violence, dark humour, a lot of pop culture references and a clear love for cinema. It’s definitely a flawed script, it’s definitely not among Tarantino’s best, and doesn’t have a whole lot of substance to it. However, Tony Scott executes the script well and makes it work even better, particularly with its hyper kinetic pace and flow. It succeeds at being an oddly charming romance crime film, and I especially prefer Scott’s ending compared to what Tarantino had in mind originally.
One of the biggest standouts of the movie is the incredibly large and talented cast involved. The characters are memorable, and the actors help to convey them incredibly well, particularly in delivering Tarantino’s witty dialogue. Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette are fantastic as the lead characters, both of whom help to really anchor the movie. While the romance may be sudden, the two have such excellent chemistry that it’s believable. The supporting cast is large and great, including the likes of Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Tom Sizemore, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Gandolfini. Even if they aren’t in many scenes, they make the most of their screentime.
Tony Scott’s energetic direction is one of the key parts of the movie’s success, as important as the script. It is definitely an earlier film of Scott’s as it is very different from his more recent direction seen in the likes of Man on Fire, Unstoppable and Enemy of the State. Still, its very stylish and has some stunning cinematography. It also has some startling brutal violence that benefits from Scott’s rapid editing and stylised action. The soundtrack is also solid, from Hans Zimmer’s composed score to the other great musical choices.
True Romance is entertaining from beginning to end, a great paring of Quentin Tarantino’s great (if imperfect) writing with Tony Scott’s slick direction, featuring an outstanding ensemble cast. It’s my favourite from Scott, and it is well worth checking out.