From Dusk Till Dawn
with George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis and Harvey Keitel
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Written by Quentin Tarantino (Miramax Films)
by John Bikowski
“El Mariachi” Rodriguez and writer Quentin Tarantino. Let’s get one thing straight… if you saw this film and didn’t like it then it’s your own damn fault because you probably shouldn’t have gone in the first place. If you don’t approve of obscene language, nudity, violence, and major vampire gore, then don’t see this film and don’t read this review. From Dusk Till Dawn is a movie made for a certain type of audience and was made by serious philes of the horror/gore/violence/dark-comedy realm, of which Tarantino is a die-hard fan.
The story begins as brothers George Clooney, who gives his best-ever performance, and Tarantino embark on a crime spree that leaves a trail of corpses in the dust and our lovable perpetrators a whole lot richer. The problem for them is that with the FBI breathing down their tattooed necks, they must cross the border to Mexico to enjoy their spoils. Realizing that they’ll be screwed trying to get through customs, they take Harvey Keitel, his daughter (Juliette Lewis), and his Chinese son as hostages. The first half of the film is arguably the most entertaining and is rife with classic dialogue, such as when Clooney tells a quivering bank teller hostage at gunpoint, “If you try to run, I have six little friends that can run faster!”
While many question Quentin’s acting prowess, I feel he did a hilarious job as a closet psychopath who can’t stand to control his urge to kill or rape everyone he sees. He is so disturbed that he imagines Juliette Lewis quaintly asking him for oral sex when we all know she never did. Funny! Also admirably handled is Rodriguez’ kinetic direction, which in one scene shows quick unsettling flashes of a victim’s massacred and raped body rather than wallow in the remains up close. Doing so would have detracted from the radical switch to the deliriously bloody world across the Mexican border.
Upon safely entering Mexico, the unlikely companions rendezvous at a biker bar called the Titty Twister (complete with a neon sign showing a titty being… er… twisted). Blocking their entrance is the comical and rude Cheech Marin, who is giving an energetic spiel on all the types of “pussy” that are for sale inside. What happens next is almost non-stop exotic dancing, flesh-tearing, brain-splattering, rip-roaring fun and death. You will see state of the art special effects (spearheaded by special effects wizard Tom Savini, who also has a role in the film) as our small group of outsiders attempts to survive the night in a room full of demon vampires. Without giving too much away, heads and eyes roll, guts fly, and even main characters get seriously housed. Don’t be taken in by what appears to be a happy ending – it really isn’t if you think about it. You have been warned – see this movie if you are a fan and you won’t be disappointed. Otherwise, save your cash for tissues and go rent Terms of Endearment.