“I always said, if I had to f**k a guy… I mean had to, if my life depended on it… I’d f**k Elvis.”
It’s a line in the opening monologue of 1993’s True Romance, a line that identifies the film as unmistakably belonging not to the director of the film, Tony Scott, but its writer, the king of pop-culture and f**k-bombs himself, Quentin Tarantino. The movie lacks directorial flair, so the dialogue and plot shoulder most of the burden.
The story revolves around Clarence, a comic shop employee with a penchant for old kung-fu movies. He meets Alabama, a hooker, one night at a late screening, and shortly afterwards, they marry. Alabama however, is afraid that her pimp will find her, so Clarence takes it upon himself to free his wife from her fear. In doing so, he inadvertently ends up with a suitcase full of cocaine. He and Alabama decide sell it, and flee to Los Angeles with the owners in hot pursuit.
The strength of the writing is augmented by Scott’s direction, which, as mentioned before, is straightforward. The camera records, rather than interprets, leaving plenty of room for Tarantino’s stylized, ultra-hip dialogue to tell the story. Tarantino’s movies can be self-indulgent and shallow, and often have more to do with the writer/director’s love of film rather than anything profound. True Romance isn’t much different in this respect, but it does feel tighter, less bloated than his more recent efforts. There are no drawn-out conversations about the death of a goldfish, or the names of fast-food burgers in Amsterdam. I know these types of conversations are what makes Tarantino movies unique and that they’re a large part of why people like him, but I think he can get carried away sometimes. That’s not to say that the movie is completely devoid of this trademark; it’s undeniably present, but it has more connection with the plot and characters than is typical. Everything is necessary to the story and developing the characters.
Though it’s not one of his more famous efforts, True Romance is one of Tarantino’s better ones. If you have even mildly enjoyed one of his movies, check this one out.
Fascinating Fact: Tarantino has said that this film is the most autobiographical he’s made to date.
Recommended Films: Pulp Fiction, Natural Born Killers