a critiQal film review True Romance (1993)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: While out celebrating his birthday, Clarence (Slater) meets Alabama (Arquette) and it's love at first sight. When Alabama tells him she's a call girl but wants to be with him, Clarence is undaunted, and quickly goes to collect Alabama's things from her drug-dealing pimp Drexel (Oldman). A fight erupts, leaving Drexel dead and Clarence toting what he thinks is a suitcase of Alabama's clothes. The suitcase is actually full of crack cocaine, and Clarence and Alabama set off for Hollywood to try to sell it...not knowing that the original owners are searching for them and want their product back.

479 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 23s)

In 1992, then-unknown writer/director Quentin Tarantino exploded onto the movie scene with Reservoir Dogs (1992) and became an instant legend in the movie biz. Suddenly, all of his ideas were hot properties – and that was even before his next film, Pulp Fiction (1994) cemented his name in the director’s chair. Meanwhile, a few of his stories were brought to life on the big screen.

Everyone’s heard about the Natural Born Killers (1994) brouhaha (which was based on Quentin’s script), but another film he wrote, True Romance, was largely overlooked in theaters, only to later garner a cult following on the small screen.

With a cast that includes Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Michael Rapaport, Christopher Walken, Bronson Pinchot, Gary Oldman, Tom Sizemore and Chris Penn, this violent romance film seemed like it had everything going for it, and viewers since have finally started realizing it. So what is it about True Romance that has critics and fans alike raving? We decided to sit down and find out.

Christian Slater, one of the big stars of the 80’s, stars in True Romance, and while his character may be a little grittier than the ones he played in the 80’s, that same charisma that brought him to fame is still evident, and, while managing to tone down his ego, he plays Clarence like a modern-day dime-store cowboy, and viewers should eat it up.

His co-hort in this Bonnie and Clyde (1967) type flick is Patricia Arquette, who manages to play newbie call girl-turned-wife with just the right mix of Southern flirt and white trash, managing to make the character become more than just the scenery, despite her drawl and dumb-blonde antics.

The talented supporting cast in True Romance, however, is incredible. While only appearing in a few sequences apiece, actors like Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman and Dennis Hopper prove once again why their names are legendary, and their sequences light up the film with high points. Michael Rapaport, Bronson “Perfect Strangers” Pinchot also do stellar jobs in their roles, playing the dumb actor and the overconfident movie assistant to a tee. Even bit players like Tom Sizemore, Chris Penn and “The Sopranos” James Gandolfini shine, as does Val Kilmer as the ghost of Elvis Presley.

Under Tony Scott’s direction, Quentin Tarantino’s script – while full of his trademark dialogue rants – takes the brutal violence Quentin fans are used to and turns it into a brutally stylish symphony of action, keeping viewers glued right up to the climactic, guns blazing, free-for-all finale that no fan of action shoot-em-ups should miss.

While it may have done poorly in theaters when it was originally released in 1993, there’s a reason that True Romance has gained a cult following on the small screen. Stylishly brutal and chock-full of stand-out performances – especially from it’s stellar supporting cast – True Romance is a must-see (and must-own) for any action-loving fan.

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