From that ever-familiar tune to the deep Southern female voiceover, True Romance plays off of Badlands with the addition of gangster-troping neo-noir positively drenched in gaudy eightiesness. Like Malick’s debut, the movie confronts a couple with society, a potent contrast given – among other reasons – our (social!) weighting of love as a priority. But unlike its predecessor, True Romance never questions the couple’s adoration, frequently reinforcing it where one wouldn’t expect it, thereby throwing into sharper relief the idea of killing that is perhaps not only understandable but, such is the weight behind the one true place of innocence, justified. It is a compelling trick.
Tarantino’s sharp script, though slightly over-indulgent at its climax, has us completely rooting for this innocence (occasionally reflected elsewhere) in spite of its undermining (i.e. Elvis) – perhaps to a fault. But it is simple yet intelligent, and executed with style and clarity by a director who is sadly no longer with us. I took far too long getting round to seeing this film, but it didn’t disappoint.
RIP Tony Scott. Gifted, lovely by all accounts, brave.