The film follows a young dumb newly wed couple= Christian Slater who’s a comic book nerd and Patricia Arquette, a call girl, who stumble across a mountain of cocaine after Slater’s character kills Patricia Arquette’s pimp. Written by Quentin Tarantino, but one of those films, for some reason he chose not to direct. So it fell into the hands of (Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun directing) Tony Scott.
This is is a Tarantino film without the panache. The lack of him directing, makes the whole film feel out of place. Like every character is a little racist and they all says bad mother fucker like it’s common language and the many refrences to classic 70’s and 80’s kung fu movies are simply Tarantino and like most Tarantino screenplays, the characters are just written versions of himself. But the most obvious within this film is Christian Slater’s lead character. But his acting is anything but smooth and he hardly brings the feel for the dialogue that, say Steve Buscemi brought in Reservoir Dogs as Mr Pink, probably the most Tarantino like character in the film.
Another problem with Christian Slater in this film is that he is such an unlikable lead that it just makes every other character we meet seem even more better. Which is bad because we end up caring more about the 5 minute characters that come and go than we do about the characters we have to follow for nearly two hours. I’m not saying that Patricia Arquette is also an unlikable character (even with her kooky annoyance), but like I said, Slater’s character is the written characterization of Quentin Tarantino; so he doesn’t really stop talking.
But even if he was a likable lead, he would still be densely over-shadowed by the rest of the 5 minute characters. Especially as Slater is practically an unknown now. Here is the supporting cast and there estimated (collective) screen time. Gary Oldman (10-15 min), Samuel L Jackson (2 min), Dennis Hopper (10 min), Christopher Walken (5 min), Val Kilmer (5 min), Brad Pitt (maybe 10 min (Where he’s mostly getting high(Which is awesome!). So you get the point that you could probably make a decent movie just out of the supporting cast. Which could of worked really well.
Why Christian Slater is even there, I don’t know. It’s as if Quentin Tarantino just needs a way of voicing all his thoughts and opinions. You do kind of want Gary Oldman’s Rastafarian pimp Drexl to shoot him at the begging of the film. But then you would kind of miss out on the Love Actually of gangster movies. With Brad Pitt’s stonner, Val Kilmer as Slater’s invisible mentor Elvis Presley, the great Dennis Hopper as Slater’s father (as if) and Christopher Walken as Vincenzo Coccotti the fantastically well acted gangster representative plus Tom Sizemore plays the role he always plays, which is always fun to watch.
So down to the the supporting cast this film is held together well. They could of made this an interesting TV series giving, each character an episode.
Good and I know a lot of people really love this film. But it’s due entirely down to the supporting cast and Patricia Arquette. Tarantino without the heart just makes it seem empty inside.
Best Line in the Film: “You’re part eggplant”– Dennis Hopper. “You’re a cantalop” – Christopher Walken