True Romance (1993) starring Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Bronson Pinchot, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Michael Rapaport, James Gandolfini, Samuel L. Jackson directed by Tony Scott Movie Review

True Romance (1993)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Patricia Arquette as Alabama Whitman in True Romance

Romance isn't dead

Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) is a bit of a loner, who has 2 loves in his life, Elvis Presley and Kung Fu flicks. Whilst celebrating his birthday, with his traditional trip to a cinema, he meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette) and they hit it off in spectacular fashion. After a night of talking and passion, they rush off and get married, and not even when he finds out that she was a call girl paid for by his boss as a present, does it change the way he feels. As the new Mr. and Mrs. Worley settle down to married life, Clarence learns about the way her pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman), treated the call girls, and with anger building up inside him decides to pay him a visit.

"True Romance" comes from the pen of Quentin Tarantino, and like his other screenplays, it is full of action and violence which at times over shadows a reasonably good story. What makes this film slightly different is that it has been directed by Tony Scott, who has tried to focus on the story rather than the violence.

Christian Slater as Clarence Worley in True Romance

Although the story is a bit far fetched and the ending seems to pander to the audience rather than staying true to the story, the film is still very enjoyable. Most of the enjoyment comes through the brilliant performances from Slater and Arquette, but the plethora of stars that make up the supporting cast all put in great performances. As you would expect with a Tarantino movie, there is a lot of violence in this film. With numerous shootings and physical beatings, the number of overly graphical scenes is very high. At times, these scenes come over as quite disturbing, as personally I don't get pleasure from seeing a woman getting viciously beaten. But one scene of violence which does work is the shoot out, which is a great bit of cinematography and is not overly graphical.

In the lead role of Clarence Worley is Christian Slater (Pump up the Volume) who is really enjoyable as the hero of the film. Although he does a very good job in this film, at times his character is a bit inconsistent as he goes from shy loner to Mr. Confident with no real explanation. Opposite Slater is Patricia Arquette (Ed Wood) who again puts in an enjoyable performance but also suffers from a character who changes to dramatically in the film.

Amongst the notable names who appear in the film you have Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman,, Chris Penn and Samuel L. Jackson who all provide excellent performances no matter how much screen time they get. Probably the one which sticks out the most is Gary Oldman as Drexl the pimp and drugs dealer. Casting Oldman as a white man who acts as if he's black is quite funny.

The film is directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun) and has done a very good job, all but a little bit violent. Saying that, he has tried to make the story the focus of the film, rather than let the violence take center stage. Under the hands of a less experienced director, this film could have gone down the route of an all out blood bath, which in my opinion would not have made for a good film. The soundtrack to the film is mainly very soulful but just at the right moments it picks up and becomes heavier for the actions scenes. There is a very beautiful piece of music which runs through out the movie (sounds like it is played on a glockenspiel), if anyone knows what it is called, please leave a comment telling me what it is.

"True Romance" has me in two minds as to whether I really like it. As a gritty action drama, it works really well and holds your attention, but some of the over graphical violence puts me off. I suppose I would recommend this film purely because it has so much more to it rather than just the violence. It has a very good cast, who all put in very good performances, the sound track is great and it does keep your attention.