Clarence Worley marries a hooker, kills her pimp, steals his cocaine, and tries to off-load on a big Hollywood producer, only to find the people who the drugs really belong to want them back.
The story of True Romance first takes place on Clarence’s (Christian Slater) birthday, when he meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette) in a cinema. As it turns out, Clarence’s boss paid call-girl Alabama to spend some time with the lonely birthday boy which actually is very successful as they quickly get married. To prove his love to her, Clarence decides to collect Alabama’s things from pimp Drexl (an unrecognisable Gary Oldman) and also say a few words of warning to him. When he gets back to their flat, Clarence soon discovers Alabama’s ‘things’ include a lot of cocaine which they decide to sell in bulk. They enlist the help of a few friends who find them a movie producer who becomes a huge potential customer. The only problem is it’s not just Drexl who’s missing the cocaine taken from his establishment. Hell of a start to a marriage, wouldn’t you say?
True Romance is the project that filled Quentin Tarantino’s time between Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. I can confirm that it was time well spent. It’s not quite what we’re used to coming from QT as Clarence and Alabama make a ridiculously cute couple who confess their love for each other after only one night together, but people are soon getting beaten up and shot and Samuel L. Jackson appears and then things are back to normal.
Speaking of Samuel L. Jackson, True Romance has a rather star-studded cast. Slater, Oldman and Arquette are joined by Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Christoper Walken, James Gandolfini and Chris Penn in this wonderful crime thriller. The whole things is really just a very exciting affair.
Slater as Clarence plays a man who seems to think he has won the lottery after finding Alabama and the cocaine worth $200,000. The impression you get of Clarence is that for most of his life, he has been pretty down on his luck, and when he meets his wife it looks to him as though things are taking a turn for the better.
Arquette as Alabama is such a loveable character. She has recently move to Detroit where she spent all of four days working as a call-girl for the bullying Drexl before meeting Clarence. Like her husband, Alabama has also clearly not had things easy, but with Drexl and his business associates still wanting their cocaine, nothing’s going to be changing any time soon.
With the exception of those two, the rest of the actors in a True Romance have relatively small, but fairly significant parts. Oldman plays Drexl who is a very dangerous man, especially when there are drugs or alcohol anywhere near. Walken plays a Sicilian gangster who wants the drugs Clarence and Alabama have found. Pitt plays Floyd; a stoner who always unwittingly sells out the newly-we’d couple, and Penn plays the cop who takes down the deal Clarence eventually sets up.
Both the story and characters are very well written, so it’s fair to say that True Romance is yet another worthy outlet of Tarantino’s brilliant talent.
All in all, I would recommend True Romance to everyone and I would happily sit and watch it again with them all. It’s one of those films where there is something for everyone, plus big stars who I’m sure are not ashamed to have this as a feature on their CVs.