Friday, 12 July 2013

True Romance (4½ Stars)

I admit that my main reason for watching "True Romance" today was in remembrance of James Gandolfini, who died last month. I wanted to watch one of his films, and in my opinion this was the best film he made. His part is small, but his role as a mobster is probably one of the reasons he was picked to play Tony Soprano a few years later.

In many ways it's a curious film. It stars many top actors in small roles, actors who would normally be the stars. Brad Bitt, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken  and Gary Oldman are just a few of them. Despite all the stars it was a box office flop. I don't understand why. The film is a masterpiece in its own right, even without the added appeal of the top actors.

As the film's title suggests, it's a love story. Clarence (Christian Slater) works in a comic book shop, Alabama (Patricia Arquette) is a call girl. They meet at a kung fu movie in Detroit and get married a few days later. Clarence sees a vision of Elvis, who tells him to kill Alabama's pimp. By accident he picks up a suitcase full of cocaine when he flees from the murder scene. He thinks he can make money easily by selling it to a film producer in Hollywood, but the mob already knows his name and is pursuing him across the country.

The film starts slowly and escalates into total chaos. The screenplay was written by Quentin Tarantino, who originally wanted to direct the film himself. I find it a shame that he didn't, but it still turned out well.

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