October 31, 2004

True Romance

After the first three scripts (this, Reservoir dogs, and Pulp Fiction) Tarantino is sometimes entertaining, always clever duff, but this film is high art.

Some people say that "True Romance" takes a while to warm up, but personally I prefer the beginning. After it arrives in Hollywood and becomes an action film, it is still excellent, but in inception it is perfection.

"True Romance," refers I believe, like "Pulp Fiction," to a genre of novels that cater to the dreams of the unfulfilled. And this film shows use the sort of dream that might-satisfy. But, the tragic beauty of "True Romance" is that, unlike the genre it parodies, it is self-aware: it is aware that "true romance" can only ever be pulp fiction.

The emphasis is on dream. Despite what big-richard-critic below says, super-nerds know, that there is no fullfilment in this world. Like J. Alfred Purfrock, they have been through it all in their heads.

The opening soundtrack by Zimmer, complete with whistling wind, sirens, and a background of Detroit down-and-outs, hangs in my mind as theme for this movie: unfulfillable hope.

The music, and this film, as big-Richard says, crystalise the unearthly hope of those out in the cold, comic-book (or video rental) shop of despair. It nerds like this that show us the way things might have been. Think Wuthering Height's Emily Bronte, who never got to know anyone, let alone a guy, outside her immediate family circle.

Other reviewers have noted the fourtuitousness with which Clarence finds a girl that likes Comic Books and Kung Fu movies, but does she? She is a call girl that is paid to be there. All the same even in the face of that -- the scene on the roof does it for me -- they hold on to the dream.

(Admitedly though there are no women in this film. The only woman is the Super-nerd's anima. )

The rest of the movie is a collection of dream sequences, all driven by a refrain of "wouldn't it be really cool if.." the males could incarnate machismo, 'sell the contradiction'. And the scenes are very, very cool.

"True Romance" is full of monologues. The characters, walking through dreams on their own, rarely really interact. But the monologues by Hopper, Walkren, and Gandolfini rank with Shakespear. Even Christian Slater's phone call, "If you want my movie, Lee, you're just gonna have to come to terms with your Fear and Desire," or the hard boiled cop duo Nickolson and Dime's monologue a deux -- "somthing's rotten in Denmark," -- are redefining cool all the way.

But, just as Cathy and Heathcliff's fantasy on the moor -- they are prince and princess -- is just that, Clarence and Alabama's fantastic journey from Detroit to Hollywood never touches down. People complain about the unreality of this film, but "True Romance" is meant to be that way, at least until until the end.

I think that Tony Scott did a good job (even outdoing his brother's genuius) but I wish that he had stayed with the original script's ending. At the same time, I think we know how the film should have ended.

"So, what say we throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may."

Posted by timtak at October 31, 2004 06:31 PM