Two killers take a family hostage in an attempt to get to Mexico and go on the run. After they’ve broke through, they stop off at a truckers’ bar where things get a little hairy.
Robert Rodriguez’s vampire flick follows Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and his brother Richard (Quentin Tarantino) as they try to flee the U.S. in search of freedom in Mexico. Part of their plan is to kidnap a family and ride across the border with them, where life with Mexican gangsters will then await. However, whilst at the rendezvous point, a few drinks lead to a massacre as the strippers and bar men turn into a bunch of vampires and start draining everybody. It then comes to Seth to organise his reluctant crew to fight their way out.
From Dusk Till Dawn really first attracted my attention when I found out it was written by Tarantino. I confessed in a post earlier this week that I am a huge fan of his work, and seeing as I’m up to date with everything he has directed, I’m now on a mission to watch films he has written scripts, stories or screenplays for. After having found this a few weeks ago, I finally got to watch it today and I’m not 100% sure what to make of it. The opening scene was immense – only five minutes into the film and an off-license owner had been burnt alive and shot, a Texas ranger had also been gunned down and then the liquor store this had taken place in exploded and burnt to the ground. Typically, whilst this was happening, Clooney and Tarantino just walked away bickering about why the ranger had gotten shot in the first place. Classics Tarantino writing.
However this immensity was not sustained.
I must also admit that I thought Clooney as Seth was great. There were many of the lines that came out of his mouth that could so easily have come out of mine. For example, when told that Richard was no longer his brother, Seth retaliated with: ‘Well, that is a matter of opinion and I do not give a f*** about yours.” In about ten seconds, that line made my day. I’m not the biggest fan of Clooney – I have nothing against him, but I wouldn’t watch a film solely because he was in it – but he played Seth with such a coolness that if I knew he was to become such a character again, I’d probably watch him.
Tarantino as Richard was just a creep. The first thing I said when I first saw his character was that he looked like a sex offender. As it turned out, he had previous charges for sexual offences. What can I say? Richard was Seth’s little brother, and this dynamic was very well portrayed by both actors. At times, they were reminiscent of Castor and Pollux Troy from Face/Off – they’d go around ruining everybody else’s lives, but would always have each other’s backs.
Now, I’ve said that I wasn’t 100% sure of what to make of From Dusk Till Dawn. Yes, there was that opening scene, and for some time the film continued in this way. However, halfway through the vampires appeared, and when this happened, the film got weird. Very quickly. Blood sprayed everywhere and people got very creative with the ways they could kill the bloodsuckers. What’s that, I hear you say? It’s no different to what would be in a Tarantino-directed flick? No, you’re not wrong, but for me, he does the whole blood spatter thing with a bit more finesse than Rodriguez. I think their directing techniques are very similar, but Tarantino just has that defining edge that means he can be excessive with the violence and the bloodshed but, unlike Rodriguez at times, it doesn’t appear to have been put there purely for the sake of it,
Basically, From Dusk Till Dawn is a good bit of fun that I think most will enjoy as a light bit of escapism provided they don’t look too far below the surface and don’t think too much about it afterwards. Some of those out there who are devoted fans of vampire films may love it. Personally, I only watched it because of QT’s involvement, but quickly came to like it more than I thought I would thanks to Seth and his killer attitude. It passed a couple of hours, but I wouldn’t watch it again in a hurry. The direction it took once the vampires began partaking was not something I massively appreciated, but until then it was actually very good. Maybe one day, I will reacquaint myself with From Dusk Till Dawn, but it won’t be for a while yet.