Film Review: True Romance (1993)


First, allow me to speak for my inner thirteen-year-old: This is a fucking cool-ass movie.

Okay, now I’ll try to be more adult.

The screenplay by Quentin Tarantino is an exciting blend of violence, sweetness, and dark humor. Tony Scott (Top Gun) brings it to life with his usual polished style, and attracts a large ensemble of A-list performers. Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette play Clarence and Alabama Whorley, a comic book geek and a call girl who meet serendipitously and fall instantly in love. As Tarantino says, the title of the movie is not meant to be ironic. An edgy action movie may not be a likely place to find true love, but I would argue that Clarence and Alabama are a more engaging and believable couple than those found in the majority of modern romantic comedies.

Arquette is so irresistibly charming that you just can’t tolerate the thought of bad things happening to her. And bad things do indeed happen. There’s a remarkable fight scene between Arquette and James Gandolfini that stirred much controversy for its over-the-top brutality… It’s sublime. Because the worse Gandolfini treats her, the more we want to see her win. Arquette taps into some primal shit here, and it’s pretty fucking frightening.

Then you have the masterful scene in the middle of the movie, where Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper sit down and deliver one of the darkest, funniest movie moments from the ’90s. You also get Brad Pitt as a silly pot head, Gary Oldman as a slimy pimp/drug dealer, and Val Kilmer channeling Elvis (though you never really see Val’s face). Are you not sold yet? And if so, what’s wrong with you?

Granted, I like the first half of the movie, set in desolate Detroit, better than the shinier second half, where Clarence and Alabama go to Hollywood, but in total, True Romance is good, gitchy, bloody fun.

Rating: 4.25/5 ★★★★¼ 


About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (

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