Vital Signs

Theater of Cruelty

True Romance
Produced by Samuel Hadida, Steve Perry, and Bill Unger
Directed by Tony Scott
Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino
Released by Warner Brothers

Hard Target
Produced by James Jacks, Sean Daniel, Chuck Pfarrer, and Terence Chang
Directed by John Woo
Screenplay by Mr. Pfarrer
Released by Universal Pictures

Because of my enthusiasm for the verve of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, I would have wanted to catch True Romance, for which he wrote the screenplay, even without the interestingly diverse reviews. My appetite was only further whetted by the extraordinary range of the reviewers' comments, from the enthusiasm of Janet Maslin in the New York Times to the all but frenzied derision of David Denby in New York magazine. "The unspeakable 'True Romance," he wrote, "might have been conceived during a feverish night at Miss Heidi's. Overstimulated but glazed, the picture reeks of whorishness and self-disgust; it treats the audience as if it were half dead, as if it needed to be brought twitching to life with one shock after another." This is extraordinarily exercised. and an interesting suggestion to make about a movie of which devoutly middle-of-the-road critics like those of the Times and Time mostly approved. My curiosity...

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