Viewed – 20 August 2012 DVD
With the news of director Tony Scott’s death, I felt the only way I could pay a genuine tribute, was to watch and review one of his best (and most underrated) movies. Starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette, we follow the story of Clarence (Slater) who falls for rookie call girl Alabama (Arquette) and ends up doing a drug deal with a hot-shot movie producer after accidentally coming into possession of a suitcase full of cocaine. With the Police and the Mob closing in on them, will they make it to the happy ending they dream of?
Based on a stellar screenplay by Quentin Tarantino and released at a time when Hollywood had Tarantino fever (it followed Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs only a year previous, quickly followed itself by Oliver Stone’s controversial Natural Born Killers) and with Scott’s trademark soft-focus filtered style and a great soundtrack this simply bleeds quality from beginning to end. Supporting cast members all get their moment to shine, most notably Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken in a very memorable scene (you’re Sicilian, right?), but also Tom Sizemore, Val Kilmer (as the ghost of Elvis) and Gary Oldman. Slater delivers easily the performance of his career, helped no end by a spunky and sexy Arquette, looking her most iconic. The dialogue especially impresses, some of the best I’d say Tarantino has ever written, and with Scott’s confident direction, it even feels weightier and more meaningful than when Tarantino himself is behind the camera.
The plot does get a tad complicated, seems to wallow at times in the violence, and there’s probably too much going on … but if you’re paying attention, it all just works – which is a rare thing indeed. A sure-fire classic of 90s cinema well worthy of repeated viewing.
Verdict: 5 /5