Tuesday, April 26, 2011

True Romance (Tony Scott)

Into Hollywood with an agenda of their own.

Although directed by Tony Scott, "True Romance" is, from all sides, taken over by Quentin Tarantino's (who have written the screenplay along with Roger Avary) trademark brushstrokes of unrelenting references to B-movies, stylishly vulgar dialogues and killer MacGuffins. The film is also a perfect ensemble exercise of character acting, featuring such greats as Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman and a whole lot of others.

Clarence and Alabama, whose relationship was described almost sarcastically in the film's very title, were perfectly played with the needed air of 'go for luck', 'not a care in the world', 'against all odds' romance by both Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. Now, when I look back at the very beginning, I think that the complications ironically came from the very manifestation of love between the two itself. When I heard Alabama deliver the line 'It was so romantic' after (SPOILER) Clarence killed Drexl her pimp, they surely are in for some romantic distortions, and so are we.

It all began when Clarence, all alone in a triple billing theater watching Sonny Chiba's (used later by Tarantino as Hattori Hanzo in "Kill Bill") movies, was suddenly covered with popcorn (yes, it was THAT cheesy) via Alabama's clumsy slip. After a small talk, they went for a pie, read some comic books and, as expected, into the anticipated heat of the night.

However, it was then revealed that everything, from the initial encounter (explaining the popcorn trick) up to their sexual climax, were planned and that Alabama was hired by Clarence's boss for his birthday. But then, Alabama was guilty. They hugged each other. After the artificial fling, still, love it really was indeed.

From those basic blueprints, one can see how these initial sequences can also properly fit within the premise of a tiring mid '90s comedy romance film (an everyman falling for a prostitute with a heart). But with brash Tarantino with the pen and action stylist Tony Scott at the helm, expect this romantic idealism be unraveled, be taken down piece by piece, then be put back together. We got here a turbulent love story.

With the help of the cocaine MacGuffin and some satiric intent, "True Romance" also fearlessly entered a part of Hollywood's immoral side, the retaliative urgency of the mob and the egotism in the police division not just to serve as morally imperfect backdrops for Clarence and Alabama's romance but also to give an inexorable portrait of human desperation and the intertwining of situational fates.

And even though I think that the film's climax was a bit rushed and too 'explosive' that it almost seems out of place in great contrast to its carefully progressive, well-written narrative establishment, nevertheless, the film has delivered enough goods to be considerably well-remembered as a high-notched blazing craziness that fully belongs to both the crime and romance genre.

Oh, and you want a definition of pure cinematic gold? Take note of the Sicilian scene. Hopper and Walken on a verbal dance of fear-inducement and sarcasms. Astounding. Just astounding. And after writing this, I've stumbled upon a "True Romance" film review describing the particular scene with the same, exact word (astounding) as I've used. Oh, the beauty of appreciative coincidence.


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