True Romance

True Romance ★★★

True Romance’s greatest strength lies in its unusually sparing use of its superb cast. Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Samuel L. Jackson, Val Kilmer and James Gandolfini all play minor characters, each given only one or two scenes to shine. These minor character scenes are sometimes detached from the main cast, but are brilliant, memorable and are the most engaging parts of the film.

It is a shame then that the macroscopic narrative of True Romance can at times feel like a confused series of contrivances that facilitate and move the story between these scenes. This is not to say that Alabama and Clarence, played by Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater respectively, didn’t have some good moments, but their characterisations didn’t feel entirely cohesive. Perhaps one of the film’s larger draws is also the cause of this issue; Quentin Tarantino’s script. True Romance is quintessentially Quentin - The lines are iconic, the violence is unapologetic, and the script finds space for levity where no other film would. On the other hand, Clarence’s character is written to paradoxically swing back and forth between being a questionable Tarantino self-insert and a deranged Travis Bickle type antihero, whilst Alabama (the film’s only female character) is extremely one dimensional.

My personal highlight of True Romance is the still infamous Sicilian scene; a verbal showdown between Dennis Hopper and Christoper Walken so stupid you just can’t forget it. “You’re a canteloupe.”