True Romance (1993)


Hi. How are you? My name’s Elliot, and I’m with the Cub Scouts of America. We’re… we’re selling uncut cocaine to get to the jamboree.

— Elliot

Quentin Tarantino penned the script for True Romance for director Tony Scott. I heard about this movie, because when I saw the IMDb page of Inglourious Basterds. He made one of the characters “Bear Jew” Donowitz the grandfather of one of the character in this movie. I thought I might check it out. I think this was Tarantino’s attempt to have a bloodily romantic movie, but it fails.

Taking place in Detroit, a comic book store worker, Clarence Worley (Christian Slater) goes to a Sonny Chiba “Street Fighter” triple feature. A beautiful young woman, Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette) intentionally bumps into him there. They take a liking to each other and meet each other for pie. He tries to get to know her more, but she is coy.

They quickly fall in love and have sex. Afterwards, Alabama confesses to him that she is a call girl that was hired by his boss to get him laid on his birthday. They promise to be with each other always and get married the next day. She tells him about her fucked up life and how needed to get her stuff back from her pimp

When shit is about to go down the spirit of Elvis (Val Kilmer) gives Clarence a quick pep talk in the bathroom. Clarence wants to retrieve Alabama’s stuff from her former pimp, a Rasta man named Drexl (Gary Oldman). Going over there, things go wrong when he kills Drexl and takes a suitcase. It turns out that suitcase is filled with a million dollars worth of cocaine from a drug lord, Blue Lou Boyle.

The duo doesn’t know this. When Clarence comes back to the apartment bloody and bruised, Alabama is turned on by doing anything for her. They go over to a trailer house to meet his father, Clifford (Dennis Hooper), who is a police officer. They haven’t seen each other in three years. He wanted to know if the cops are after the twosome. Clifford tells them that they are in the clear.

They take a road trip Clarence’s best friend in Hollywood, Dick Ritchie (Michael Rappaport), an actor with his stoner roommate, Floyd (Brad Pitt). After the duo leaves, Vincenzo Coccotti (Chirstopher Walken), the local counsel for Boyle, pays Clifford a visit. The thugs interrogate him when Clarence dropped his license at the crime scene. They want to get their score back.

The movie is supposed to be a modern version of Bonnie and Clyde, but the movie felt false. You know you hear Tarantino dialogue when the characters ramble on about movies and minute trivia. The movie as whole laid flat. There was no oomph. I didn’t care if the characters lived or died. It was disappointing.

Judgment: Words cannot describe how terrible this movie is.

Rating: **1/2


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on November 18, 2009, in 1993, Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Failed? Flat? What is this world coming to? This remains one of my favourite written works of Tarantino – better than NBK if you ask me. This was a far more fulfilling Mexican standoff than the one staged in Reservoir Dogs. This was a great role for Gary Oldman, another notch on his belt of complete transformations. This will always be my favourite role for Brad Pitt, and Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper’s scene is over the top incredible – and pure Tarantino for sure.

    Up until now, my neck’s been sore with agreeing with your blog so much, so it was about time for the steak to end. Val Kilmer as spectral Elvis was freakin’ awesome! This entire story is made up of a fantastic confluence of stories and laid the groundwork for so many movies that came after it.

    • I recognized the Tarantino elements in the movie, but it didn’t have the gravitas that QT directed films have.

      The scene you mentioned about the Sicilians being “niggers” was entertaining, but I didn’t care about the film.

      Whose NBK?

      • NBK: Natural Born Killers.

        Even if there were a million scenes between Chris Walken and Dennis Hopper, there wouldn’t be enough. And that this one involves a long innapropriate monologue courtesy of Tarantino is the icing on the cake.

        I agree that it lacked the “gravitas” of which you speak, and that’s what made this a great little dark fairy tale. Thanks to True Romance, there’s nothing sexier than having a woman invite me to eat pie after watching a movie. That’s the good stuff.

        Don’t worry, I’ll save you a spot on the bandwagon for when you finally come around.

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