Saturday, February 5, 2011

From Dusk Till Dawn

From Dusk Till Dawn (Robert Rodriguez, 1996) Quentin Tarantino had just won an Oscar for co-writing Pulp Fiction, and followed it up by writing this mocking over-the-top vampire movie.  He grabbed Desperado director Rodriguez to direct it (so he could concentrate on his acting—and he's not bad here), starting a career-long association, and George Clooney used it to re-start his movie career while still in his "E.R." bobblehead days, back before he decided he'd take his movie choices seriously

He wasn't doing that here.  This one's a black-crested lark of comic violence and obscene intentions, a nihilistic exploration of...well, absolutely nothing.  It's what Rodriguez and Tarentino do at their worst—make crap they like, but is so "inside" as to be a private joke for their own giggling pleasure.

The Gecko brothers (Clooney, Tarantino) are nihilistic criminals trying to make their way over the Mexican border.  After an incendiary one-stop robbery, they kidnap a family, the Fullers (Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu), to smuggle them across the border where they end up at the infernal strip-club, The Titty Twister, which holds a deep dark secret once the sun goes down—it's run and jobbed by vampires.  Yup, an 24 hour-a-day joint filled with blood-suckers.  But, for some reason, opening up the saloon doors doesn't eliminate the staff and add a new layer of dust to the floor.  Nor, would the nightly slaughter of customers fail to attract a new clientele.

Odd, that.

But, it does provide a lot of bulbous make-up effects, a lot of ultra-squishy violence done to living and dead alike, and appearances by B-movie stalwarts Fred Williamson, Cheech Marin, and make-up maven Tom Savini—who didn't do any of the make-up.  By the end, there are so many holes in people that it almost outnumbers the holes in the plot (QT's Richard Gecko sustains an early gunshot clean through his hand—you can see through it—and yet he keeps using that hand in the film, even though the bones in his palm have been blasted through, which is a nice trick—howdy dood that?).  Richard's a creepy sleezoid, while Clooney's Seth Gecko is just a cocky little bastardIt must have felt good to get that out of his system, but the results are so thoroughly hackneyed and cock-eyed and cartoonishly vile that one has to have a pretty bad day kicking puppies to get any real enjoyment out of it.  A highlight is Salma Hayek's stripper performancewhere she doesn't strip

Fortunately, nearly everyone in the movie has gone on to better things.  So should you.


Candice Frederick said...

LOL. i'll call this one a guilty pleasure for me. no it's not good. but it's bad in all the right ways for me. LOL

Yojimbo_5 said...

Well, as long as you feel guilty about it, that's fine, Candice. :D
Both Rodriguez and Tarantino are capable of much better things (and I cheer those as much as I jeer their bad ones), which is why I find them frustrating at times, but remain hopeful every time I see their names attached to a project. Sometimes, they'll just blow me away with what they come up with, which is why I keep watching.

John said...

Your not alone Candice. I thought this was genius camp.

Yojimbo_5 said...

Camp, maybe, John. But you're severely lowering the bar on the word "genius."

Keep those standards high, dude.