True Romance (1993)

Stealing, Cheating, Killing. Who said romance was dead?

Clarence marries hooker Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the coke try to reclaim it.

The King, Chiba, White Boy Day and Love…Bloody Love.
True Romance is directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino. It stars Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Michael Rapaport, Christopher Walken, James Gandolfini, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Bronson Pinchot and Saul Rubinek. Music is by Hans Zimmer and cinematography by Jeffery L. Kimball.
Comic book store clerk Clarence Worley (Slater) falls in love with call girl Alabama Whitman (Arquette) when she turns up at the movie theatre as one of his birthday presents. Marriage is quick but as the whirlwind romance gathers apace, complications quickly follow in the form of psycho drug dealers and the mob!
It's still speculated on how True Romance would have panned out had Tarantino directed his own screenplay, but really in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter. For True Romance is a wildly exciting fusion of lovers on the lam premise with violence a go go thrills.
Director Scott did a bang up job bringing Tarantino's screenplay to life, even making a couple of narrative changes that suits (QT agrees) the picture no end. People often get hung up on the fact that Scott had previously helmed Top Gun, Beverly hills Cop II and Days of Thunder, citing these as reasons that Scott was wrong for the material, yet the film he did immediately before True Romance was The Last Boy Scout, a thrilling and muscular actioner that pings with sharp savvy dialogue scripted by Shane Black. It was the perfect trial run for True Romance, and Scott proved to be a wise and cohesive choice for the material. He also expertly marshalled a large ensemble cast, garnering career high turns from Slater and Arquette in the process.
Almost everything clicks into place on True Romance, it never lacks for kinetic thrills or edge of the seat drama. In turn it likes to grab you around the throat with some wince inducing violence, cunningly drawing you in to root for a couple of lovers who will do anything for each other, while simultaneously causing carnage for all they come into contact with. There's odd ball characters galore (Oldman and Pitt excelling in this area), exquisite set-pieces and dialogue so sharp you could cut a steak with it. From conversations between Clarence and his imaginary Elvis (Kilmer) mentor, to iconography unbound with one of the 90s great sequences that sees Walken's mob boss verbally joust with Hopper as Clarence's stoic father, it's a film as rich in the art of vocal acting as it is in eye splintering gloss. All that and it's a clinically beautiful love story as well!
A wet dream fantasy of QT for sure, and if you wanna be churlish? Then there should have been more room made for Sizemore and Penn's glorious coppers. Hell we could even complain about the editing being a touch too slam-bang at times…But nah! Small complaints be damned, the meeting of Tarantino the writer and Scott the director delivers neo-noir goodies galore. In fact it's a film that just gets better with age. 9/10

Morgan Creek Productions, Davis-Films, August Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures by Tony Scott, Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary.
Stars: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer.

Genres: Crime, Drama, Romance, Thriller

Keywords: loss of loved one movie business parent child relationship mexican standoff cocaine love mafia los angeles drugs illegal prostitution gun violence neo-noir

09/10/1993

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