REVIEWED
8.3.03

STORY



LOOK

From Dusk Til Dawn (Collector's Series)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Year: 1996
TRT: 1:48


This one pretty fucked up little movie. It's like a two-fer with the way it plays out. I didn't appreciate it at first with the way it unfolds, but it really is a perfect way to reveal the story that has great character development and extreme gore. It's basically two totally different stories merged into one, and it's that much better for it. The first half is a great, tension-filled drama dealing with the aftermath of a prison-break and two brother's run for the Mexican border. The second half is...fuckedupcrazyvampireactiontittytwistergorefilledextravaganza. With heart.

A Texas jailbreak leaves the Gecko brothers the two most wanted criminals after a bank robbery, kidnapping, and killing of some cops and innocent bystanders. Their fate is entwined with an atypical family of a minister who's lost his faith and his adopted son and daughter, taking a roadtrip to Mexico in their motorhome. What nobody expects is the pure insanity that is their destination.

What really makes this movie is the actors involved. I think this is Clooney's finest performance on the big screen (can't say how it compares to E.R., never watched more than 10 minutes of the show), and Harvey Keitel continues to amaze with a heartfelt role as a disillusioned minister, even to the end where things get all kinds of crazy. And of course there is old-school effects master Tom Savini putting in a thoroughly entertaining performance as Sex Machine.

This is an odd amalgamation that I dig even more with every passing viewing. Rodriguez's handheld style is more reserved in the first half, and adds perfectly to the kinectic frenzy as the film goes along. It's difficult to take on such subject matter, I'm glad to see it done in an original way, with some great darkly humorous moments sprinkled throughout. Did I mention Selma Hayek looks even better as Santanico Pandemonium?

Great Scene: There's a couple, but I gotta say the scene with Sex Machine coming to the realization that things ain't quite normal.

DVD Notes: Great 2-disc set put out by Dimension, the first is the movie and a ton of extras, the second is a feature-length documentary on the shooting of the film itself titled Full-Tilt Boogie (which will have its own review sometime in the future). The included extras for the film itself include commentary with Rodriguez & Tarantino, outtakes, deleted scenes, some featurettes, and even a shitload more. Just pick up the damn disc, it'll keep you entertained for hours on end. But I gotta ask is how does the MPAA really qualify their cuts from a film to differentiate it between being rated R or NC-17? Watching some of the deleted scenes with commentary, you have to wonder how "they" draw the line between having a stake being driven into the chest of a topless woman vampire (okay) or having a biker vampire psycho having his head bludgeoned by a table leg (not okay)? I guess it's a thin line between exploitation gore and being just plain mean. Good thing they cut those scenes, though, because now it's okay for me to bring it in for show-n-tell at work! Thanks MPAA! Thanks a whole bunch!