TRUE ROMANCE, Tony Scott (1993)
Summer sales are the best, and I’m not talking about clothes, considering this is a blog about movies. I’ve bought more than 10 movies in the past month which, of course, I will review here.
First film I decided to watch was True Romance, for two main inspiring facts: a public TV channel was broadcasting Jackie Brown, a film I love and already commented here, and second, because I just started the very same day to review The Sopranos, my favorite TV series of all times. Thus, mafia on one hand, and Tarantino’s genius helped in my choice.
I hadn’t seen this movie in ages and reckon I got more fascinated than in previous occasions, probably because I paid more attention on the dialogues, characters and the amazing crew of actors working on this bloody and violent American dream story.
Clarence (Christian Slater) is a comic book guy in Detroit. Continuing his self-imposed tradition, he spends his birthday enjoying a Sonny Chiba triple feature at a theatre on his own. A hot chick named Alabama (Patricia Arquette), for no apparent reason, joins him in the session, and will accept to go for a coffee with him afterwards. The rest you can figure out, they go to his apartment and have a good night. However, Alabama will confess the encounter wasn’t by chance. She’s a call girl, and she’s the birthday present for Clarence from his friends. It was too much coincidence.
What she can’t control is the instant crush on him, Alabama is completely in love with Clarence, and it’s the same the other way round. Thus, they get married immediately.
Everything happens so quick, Alabama’s stuff is at her pimp’s joint. Clarence decides to pay a visit to Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman), following Elvis Presley’s advise, tell him Alabama’s non of his business anymore, grab her stuff, and probably kill him. He accomplishes his mission, but there’s something out of frame: the suitcase he takes is not his wife’s, and it’s full of cocaine.
Rid of Drexl, Clarence and Alabama need to take care of the suitcase. Sell the blow, take the money and be happy ever after. But as you can imagine, things are not so easy, drug dealing involves many sides, and this one remaining, led by a cold mafia guy name Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken), won’t put things easy.
Thus the married couple heads to LA, thinking is the perfect place for selling the dope at good profit, considering the film industry scene as the potential customer, plus Clarence’s friend, Dick (Michael Rappaport), an actor looking for his opportunity in the bizz, who apparently has the right contacts. As their brilliant future seems closer, things get more and more complicated though.
This is a movie that, if you don’t know Tarantino wrote the script, but you’re fond of his work, you quickly know his trademark is present. It’s weird he didn’t direct it, considering the noise spread thanks to Reservoir Dogs, but as far as I’ve read through the net, he just sold the script and forgot about the issue quite much.
True Romance is excessive, in all senses, love is crazy, violence is brutal, and situations are impossible…very very Tarantino’s.
The way everything happens, or better said, the speed at the events occur, reminds me a bit of the comics. Everything related to feelings specially, is quite summarized. Can you imagine people falling mad in love overnight? I consider myself a romantic person, serious, but no, I can’t imagine myself so in love all of a sudden.
Truth is Alabama and Clarence are not an average couple. The comic store guy gets such a pretty girl he’d never dream of, but she comes with the package, and he needs the strength and guts, to preserve his reward. All his bravery will bring out encouraged by his personal angel, Elvis (Val Kilmer) in his golden suit. Suddenly, Clarence the loner and loser, becomes a tough guy, willing to do whatever to defend and put their love at safe.
What about Alabama? She’s like a kind of late 80’s Marilyn, the hot blonde. It’s kinda fun, her sister Rosanna’s film with Madonna, Desperately Seeking Susan, comes always to my mind, when referring to True Romance. The appearance, the clothes and accessories, this funny and careless attitude, turn Alabama into an icon.
I really love the way characters are added to the plot, turning the plot into a complex net. The pimp, Clarence’s father and Coccotti, Dick and Elliot, the cops… the rhythm is shaking, all the characters are, how to say, relevant, rich and interesting, and several of them, thanks to the actors playing them and the dialogues, are super charismatic and unique: Gary Oldman as the white pimp pretending to be black; Walken as the perfect mobster, firm, polite and cold, but eventually losing patience; Hopper, the loving drunken father who is a loser living in a trailer, who’s got nothing else to lose… these are examples of what I mean. Characters are carefully developed, all of them having their moments.
I’ve already mentioned dialogues. Tarantino is a master, I’ve written this already on this blog. I’m a diehard fan of them. The ability of creating an increasing and extreme tension at certain points, to finally explode, is awesome. Constant references to classic films really show how passionate he is about everything. I love that.
True Romance is a rough story of love, and a search for the American dream, peppered with violence and action…perfect combination for any given Sunday evening. What else can you ask for?