After earning critical acclaim for his second movie Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino collaborated with Robert Rodriguez, who also found success for directing Desperado, worked on an anthology film titled, “Four Rooms.” Unlike their successful solo entries, Four Rooms earned negative reviews from critics. Sometime later, creature designer/make-up artist, Robert Kurtzman recruited Quentin to write a screenplay for $1,500 based on his story in return for working with him in Reservoir Dogs. This time Quentin came up with a combination of blending crime drama and vampires as a love letter to low budget “B Movies” he grew up watching as a kid. Don’t forget he used to work as a video store.
After finishing the script, Robert Rodriguez helped Quentin to direct & edit the film, because Quentin didn’t have time to direct, due to around the fact that he was working on his third film Jackie Brown.
From Dusk Till Dawn was released in 1996. It received good reviews from critics and was a modest hit at the box office. This movie established George Clooney as a movie star, he was already known for his role as Dr. Doug Ross from ER.
The film spawned two critically panned direct-to-video prequels, a video game for the PC & a television series developed by Robert Rodriguez on the “El Ray Network.”
Quentin & Rob’s upcoming solo films, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” & “Alita: Battle Angel” are scheduled to come out in 2019. To prepare for next year, I’d like to share my thoughts on what’s good or bad about From Dusk Till Dawn.
Today’s review doesn’t contain any pivotal SPOILERS. Feel free to read this non-spoiler article.
Sanitary & Unsanitary Elements
Sanitary: George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, (has been A.W.O.L. since his film debut) Cheech Marin, Salma Hayek & Danny Trejo (Rob’s good luck charm) all did an outstanding job for their respective performances.
Quentin Tarantino did an awesome job for writing the script, served as an executive producer & portrayed Richie Gekko.
Robert Rodriguez did a great job editing & directing the film. At first, Quentin was originally gonna direct, but couldn’t do it on time as he was gearing up to write & direct his third film Jackie Brown.
Action Sequences were really good retaining Quentin’s trademark use of bloody kills making it difficult to remove a crimson stain.
Even though Rob directed the picture, Quentin’s signature traits are retained including dark humor, over-the-top death scenes, casting a stand-up comedian, (Cheech Marin) working with collaborators, (Harvey Keitel) a trunk shot, pop culture references bigoted characters & subtle callbacks to previous works. In my opinion, I don’t see it as a Robert Rodriguez film, I see it as a Quentin Tarantino film.
Cinematography was shot carefully without suffering from technical problems.
Prosthetic Make-Up was applied for the actors to transform as vampires courtesy of Robert Kurtzman.
Big Kahuna Burgers are shown in one scene. It was also featured in the infamous monologue scene from Pulp Fiction.
Sheriff Earl McGraw (played by the late Michael Parks) makes an appearance. He was also in Kill Bill, Planet Terror & Death Proof. The latter two are from Grindhouse.
The film is set in Texas & Mexico. I’m giving this movie an Extra Point, because I’m a native Texan alongside Mr. Rodriguez.
My favorite pre-kill line is, “No thanks, I already had a wife.” I’m giving this line Bonus Points as the best line in the movie. By the way, George ad-libbed it.
We learn about Harvey Keitel’s character, Jacob Fuller involving his personal life and having a faith crisis.
The Fuller Family’s are named after screenwriter, Samuel Fuller. Quentin listed Samuel as influence.
If you’re a guy, the bar’s got some “dancers.” To put the icing on the cake, Salma Heyek dances for us men. If you’re an over-the-top radical feminist, sorry, this ain’t your kind of picture. That means you Lena “Herbert from Family Guy” Dunham!
One character said, “Alright ramblers, let’s get ramblin.” A reference to Quentin’s first movie, Reservoir Dogs.
Scott wears a t-shirt labeled, “Precinct 13.” A reference to John Carpenter’s film, “Assault On Precinct 13.” Rob confirmed several times that John is one of his primary influences as a filmmaker.
I can’t tell you the final scene. You need to find out on your own.
Unsanitary: C.G.I. didn’t age pretty well. Visual Effects at the time we’re still fresh from Jurassic Park as it continued to grow like an infant.
There’s a shot of Juliette Lewis’ foot. Let’s face it, Quentin’s got a thing for feet. Similar to Steven Spielberg’s fetish for spotlights, Christopher Nolan’s philosophical monologues or J.J. Abrams’ obsession with lens flares. In one scene, Quentin’s having the time of his life during a “dance number.” Lookin’ at a person’s foot is gross, because it gathers bacteria or possibly develop an ingrown toenail.
The Final Verdict: A-
From Dusk Till Dawn is one of my personal favorite vampire films. If you’re interested in this movie, I highly recommend it. As an extra treat, don’t forget to watch “Full Tilt Boogie,” a documentary about how the production of the film and how it was conceived.
I hope Quentin’s ninth film isn’t destroyed by the presence of Lena Dunham. All I can do is cross my fingers and pray to god she won’t cause a stir.