Saturday, January 21, 2017

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996): written by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino; directed by Robert Rodriguez; starring George Clooney (Seth Gecko), Quentin Tarantino (Richard Gecko), Harvey Keitel (Jacob Fuller), Juliette Lewis (Kate Fuller), Ernest Liu (Scott Fuller), and Cheech Marin (Three characters): From Dusk Till Dawn still seems like two movies bolted together in the middle. The first movie is a gritty, amoral Tarantino crime drama about the bank-robbing Gecko brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as Superego and Id, respectively). The second movie is a gore-soaked horror-comedy in the vein of Evil Dead 2

They're both good movies, but I'll be damned if I know how they got stuck together like this. Robert Rodriguez directs with a lot of gusto, and Tarantino's script is solid, pulpy fun in the second half. There's some poorly modulated sexual violence towards women in the first half, a problem magnified by the jokey, one-note performance by Tarantino as the sexually predatious Gecko brother whom Clooney's more upright criminal is stuck with. Jesus, Tarantino was (and is) a terrible actor. 

The second half goes on about ten minutes too long and bafflingly loses its antagonist about five minutes in. I enjoyed the movie, but I also felt a bit dirty afterwards. Harvey Keitel, George Clooney, and Juliette Lewis seem to be acting in (and reacting to) a completely different movie than anyone else. Their naturalistic performances accentuate the artificial grue and spew of the second half. Recommended.

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