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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

True Romance (1993)


Don’t eff with the comic book nerds.

The film tells the story of a novice prostitute Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) and the adventure with her lover, comic book store clerk Clarence Worley (Christian Slater). When Clarence kills Alabama’s pimp (Gary Oldman), the newlyweds ride off into the sunset — with $5 million worth of cocaine in a suitcase and the police and the mob on their trail.

Since director Tony Scott is in such a slump nowadays, I honestly think he should just go back to having Tarantino write his scripts because he gave him two of the best films of his career. Aside from ‘Crimson Tide’, this is the other one.

The real selling point of this flick is that it’s written by Tarantino himself, and as everybody already knows, this guy is a freakin’ original genius. Tarantino is able to take any situation and make it go from normal to completley insane in about a matter of 5 seconds and it will give you this bad-ass feeling that you could not expect. The story is a pretty familiar but there are people getting killed at every second that you wouldn’t expect, twists and turns, random pop-culture references that somehow fit into the story, and just a whole bunch of other cool moments in this flick that make it ten times more the awesome thrill ride that it is known as today.

My complaint with this script is that even though it is by Tarantino, this is definitely not his best work by any means. Yes, he does get to use all of his trade-marks like funny one-liners, pop-culture references, and tense stand-offs but for some reason it’s not as edgy as you would expect. There was just something that felt like it should have really hit me harder and stuck with me more but instead it just ended up entertaining me and left me with a pretty happy mood. I don’t think Tarantino had full control over his story and that’s why the story may come off as a little more lame than his usual stuff, but it still at least works in a rather medium way.

Director Tony Scott also adds a bunch of fun to this flick by giving it this straight-forward, energetic thrill ride that isn’t filmed with that annoying shaky-came he can’t ever seem to get his hands off of nowadays. Scott is a good director when he’s got good source material, which he definitely has here, and even though it’s not drenched in style like you would expect from him, it still has a fast-paced to it that keeps the story going and the bullets flying.

However, what really had me going for this flick was its whole ensemble cast that is filled with just about every star from the early 90’s. Christian Slater is pretty good as Clarence, a guy that may seem a little strange but after awhile you start to believe and actually hope he comes out of all of this shit alive. Patricia Arquette is also a lot of fun to watch as Alabama, and you can totally feel like this one girl could actually fall in love with this type of dude. Their romance is something you actually care about because we spend enough time to see them together, and to see them be happy with one another so that when they go on this road trip and their lives are in danger, we care not only about them but their relationship as well. Sounds pretty sappy, I know, but it’s something that surprisingly worked here.

The rest of the cast is freakin’ great too, considering that just about every big star this flick had to show is in here for about 5-10 minutes each but totally kick-ass for the time they have. Dennis Hopper is great here as Clarence’s dad, in a non-psychotic role; Val Kilmer is here as “The King” but is still funny and cool, considering we barely see him; Gary Oldman is hilarious and menacing as Drexl, the white boy pimp with dreadlocks; Brad Pitt is also here as our pot-smoking friend, Floyd, and probably one of the best performances of his career, and I am willing to go toe-to-toe with whoever thinks otherwise; and Christopher Walken shows up for about 7 minutes but gives the film’s best scene where its just him and Hopper talking shit to one another and once again, it’s always Walken who steals the show at the end of the day and I can’t say that I expected anything else. Aside from these peeps I already mentioned there are plenty of other familiar faces here such as Samuel L. Jackson, James Gandolfini, Michael Rapaport, and Bronson Pinchot among others. Basically, it’s one of the better casts for a flick that I’ve seen and they all do excellent jobs with what they are given.

Consensus: It may not be Tarantino’s best script ever written, but it still has a great energy to it, with crazy performances from the ensemble cast, and some really kick-ass moments that make this film a fun watch if not as good as you would expect from these Scott and Tarantino working together.

8/10=Matinee!!

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9 responses to “True Romance (1993)

  1. Mark Walker May 1, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I absolutely loved this. In Tarantino’s original screenplay, the time-frame was Fragmented, much like Pulp Fiction. Characters appear and reappear at different times throughout the film. I would loved to have seen this done that way but still, it’s by far the best film Tony Scott has ever done.

  2. Alex Withrow May 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Dude I love True Romance. Love the cameos, the writing, the absurdly over-the-top shootout at the end. Ah, I just love it. Great review, Dan!

  3. Evan Crean May 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    True Romance is one of my all-time favorite films. It has a dynamite cast filled with some amazing actors. Anyone who tries to question Gary Oldman’s acting abilities should look no further than Drexl. Plus Val Kilmer as Elvis and Brad Pitt as a stoner? It doesn’t get any better than that. I love Christopher Walken’s delivery of the line “I haven’t killed anyone, since 1984.” Did you know it was originally written by Tarantino as a prequel to the story which became Natural Born Killers?

  4. Tommy D May 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Nice review. I saw this film a while ago and wrote about it as well. Like most Tarantino films, you have to appreciate this one for the style over the substance. I agree with you that it might have been even better if Tarantino had directorial control as well, but it was very solid nonetheless. And yes, the interrogration scene with Walken and Hopper is by far the best part of the movie.

  5. Steven Flores May 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    This is my favorite Tony Scott film. Largely because of Tarantino although I think it would’ve been a very different film if Tarantino had directed it. Still, it had some of Scott’s best moments while the ending was Scott’s idea and Tarantino felt that Scott was right about the way it ended.

  6. ethanparkin May 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    http://reviewsmybrotherswant.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/true-romance/

    I agree slightly, but I thought the lack of Tarantino directing just made it feel lite. Is it really an 8 out of ten?

  7. Lesya May 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Once again, I strongly agree. I did like the film and would probably give it 4 stars (meaning 8/10, your rating). It’s felt that it’s not Tarantino’s best, like you said, but well, he can’t be equally great in every movie he pens or directs.

  8. paolocase May 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I actually don’t mind seeing a Tarantino script directed under a different and shall I say fresher pair of eyes. QT tends to let his visual fair and tongue and cheek movie references get the best of him, so it’s nice to see the characters’ human side on the forefront.

  9. Pingback: Tarantino XX Box Set: True Romance Review | The Filmster

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