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Although directed by Tony Scott, it is Quentin Tarantinoís screenplay that makes TRUE ROMANCE ($29) the memorable minor cult classic that it has become. In fact, TRUE ROMANCE bristles with situations and dialogue that exemplify that elusive quantity that is pure Tarantino brilliance. In TRUE ROMANCE Christian Slater portrays Clarence Worley, a young man who is spending his birthday watching a Sonny Chiba triple feature at a Detroit movie theater. During the movie, Clarence meets Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette), an attractive young woman, with whom he shares a passionate evening. After their tryst, Alabama confesses to Clarence that she is a call girl, whose company was purchased by his employer, and that she has fallen for him. Following this, Clarence has a run in with Alabamaís volatile pimp Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman).

As expected, freeing Alabama from Drexlís service proves difficult; however, it does result in his acquiring a piece of luggage, one that contains a large quantity of cocaine, which is the property of local mobsters. Seeing their chance for a fresh start, Clarence and Alabama head off to Los Angeles, where they hope to sell the cocaine before moving on to a quiet life in Cancun. Of course, the mob isnít about to let Clarence and Alabama run off with their property, which leads to torture, bloodshed and an over-the-top shootout with a number of different parties all vying for the stolen cocaine. The terrific cast of TRUE ROMANCE also features Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Bronson Pinchot, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Rapaport, Saul Rubinek, Conchata Ferrell and James Gandolfini.

Warner Home Video has made TRUE ROMANCE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. While the 1080p presentation isnít likely to garner rave reviews for outstanding picture clarity, it seems to be doing a pretty good job rendering the filmís diffuse cinematography. There is a smoky quality to the image as well that keeps things from appearing overly dimensional, but there is certainly evidence of fine detail in the image that elevates the Blu-ray above any standard definition presentation. Colors can be a bit subdued in the earlier sections of the film, but there are more vibrant hues when the story shifts venues. Blacks are fairly deep and the whites are stable. The picture has generally smooth contrast and decent shadow detail, but things can appear a bit murky. Grain is decidedly modest, which would indicate a bit of digital manipulation.

TRUE ROMANCE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Originating in the matrixed Dolby Surround era, this isnít the most aggressively mixed track on the market. However, the lossless encode makes the most of the existing stems, offering a boost in fidelity and clarity. Like other soundtracks mixed in the pre-discrete era, the sound design is front heavy, with some nice separations localized to that hemisphere. Occasional active effects fall to the rear channels, along with the expected complement of ambience and fill. Dialogue reproduction is crisp and precise. English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off are three running Audio Commentaries that are included on the Blu-ray Disc; the first is with actors Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette; the second includes director Tony Scott, while the third features screenwriter writer Quentin Tarantino. Additionally, there are brief, scene specific Commentaries from actors Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Michael Rapaport and Brad Pitt. Next is an Alternate Ending with optional commentary by Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino. This is followed by Deleted/Extended Scenes with optional director commentary. The disc also contains an Original 1993 Featurette, as well as Behind-The-Scenes Interactive Featurette, which is accessible when a heart symbol pops up on the screen. A Theatrical Trailer closes out the supplements.

TRUE ROMANCE is memorable minor cult classic that fuses Tony Scottís visual style with Quentin Tarantinoís written brilliance. The Blu-ray is a worthy upgrade from standard definition, but the filmís visual style doesnít make for demo material.



True Romance [Blu-ray] (1993)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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