Cine-Men: Tarantino’s first bite of writing

Mitchell Baltosser, Staff Writer

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Ever heard of the director Quentin Tarantino? Chances are you have, and you’ve probably heard of his works, “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs,” to name a few.

But have you heard of the first movie he ever wrote? We’re talking about the film that kickstarted a legend of cinematography: “From Dusk Till Dawn.” This movie is not up to the pedigree of the legendary films listed, mostly because it makes one of the most drastic and surprising heel-turns in cinematic history.

We follow the Gecko brothers (played by George Clooney and Tarantino himself) on the run from the law after robbing a bank and escaping other murderous misadventures. After the less stable of the duo kills their hostage, they set out to find replacements.

They capture the Fuller family, consisting of a preacher in the middle of a crisis of faith and his two children. The Gecko brothers instruct the family to help them across the Mexican-American border to evade the police manhunt. The brothers plan to hide at the designated rendezvous point (a strip club), where their criminal contact will meet them at dawn.

After some classic Western barroom drama, the lights dim, the music starts and the “main act” begins. And then… all the staff turn into vampires and kill almost everyone in the bar. The tone completely shifts to something we all know from Tarantino, where gore is the punchline.

The production is something to ponder as well. While Tarantino wrote the script and played a main role, he did not direct this film. That task fell to Robert Rodriguez, who helmed “Desperado” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” and that shows in the cinematography and general setting of the film.
The film gained enough traction and revenue to warrant two separate sequels: a television show and a spinoff video game.

My Take:

I don’t know how I feel about this movie. The shift is so drastic and jarring, so I would understand if some people didn’t like the movie for this very reason. But for someone like myself who doesn’t take a viewing experience very seriously, it is quite funny in this regard.

It feels like someone just spliced in a completely different script right at the one-hour mark. We go from bloody criminal intrigue akin to “Reservoir Dogs” to something straight out of the “Evil Dead” franchise in seconds.

Granted, this later section is hysterical; it has everything from corny vampire jokes and one-liners, to pneumatic-drill wooden stakes and holy water balloons. It certainly has shades of Tarantino in some of its plot choices and scenes. But again, I cannot tell if that helps or hinders this film.

If you care about steady plot development and forethought, this is a 4/10 movie. If you simply want to watch it for fun and the classic Tarantino charm, 8/10.