Without prior knowledge of the plot, Robert Rodriguez’ From Dusk Till Dawn will no doubt surprise in the direction it takes half way through. Starting as a typical chase/crime drama set in the desert, it ends in a disco ball of carnage with many characters slain and a genuine sense of “..uh, what?”
Brothers Seth (George Clooney) and Richard (Quentin Tarantino) Gecko are on a crime spree after Richard broke Seth out of prison. They held up a bank and took a bank teller hostage, and are now attempting to cross the border into Mexico, and ultimately seek refuge in El Wrey. Whilst staying at a motel, they jump at the chance to take hostages in the form of Jacob (Harvey Keitel), a preacher who’s losing his faith due to personal issues and his two children, Kate (Juliette Lewis) and Scott (Ernest Liu).
Using Jacob’s RV, they pass the border and plan to make their way into El Wray the next morning. The brothers were recommended a bar crudely named the Titty Twister as a decent rendezvous, so that’s where they all head. But after a few drinks (and an incredibly steamy lap dance…) events take a turn for the weird, and the unlikely allies must use every resource at hand to survive the night.
Did a pretty good job of not giving too much away there, eh? Unless
A) you already know what happens or
B) you watched the trailer and my efforts of obscurity were wasted.
The majority of complaints about the film come from the instant change of, well, everything. The opening hour really is a solid crime drama: Seth comes across as a genuine badass with slight signs of a heart, and Richard is just an all out creep, with no regard of consequences of actions. But then… the vampires.
Springing from literally nowhere, the sight of Richie’s blood sends lap dancer Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) into a frenzy. She transforms from beauty to beast in under 3 seconds, with all the other dancers and barmen following her lead. Once again, the Gecko brothers and whoever is left alive in the bar are left to fend for their lives when even more arrive due to a hole appearing and bats entering the building. It all sounds a little crazy, because it’s simply that: innovative deaths, dodgy one liners and over the top action are all present here.
George Clooney pulls off the badass role as the headstrong brother Seth with ease, barely raising a smile throughout the entire movie. Tarantino is surprisingly good aswell, but it probably wasn’t much of a challenge for him to play a demented pervert. As brilliant as he is, it’s clear that he has issues. Anyway, there are scenes where his trademark drawn out dialogue are present, but they don’t seem to fit with Rodriguez’ quick cutting, explosive style. Once Rodriguez’ style does get into full swing, it get’s a little ridiculous and certifies what you’d probably already gathered: there is nothing serious about this movie.
Regardless, it’s a hugely entertaining piece of (almost) Grindhouse cinema. The campy, over the top violence certainly won’t be for everyone’s taste, but if you’re looking for a film that requires absolutely no brainpower but a sense of humour then From Dusk Till Dawn is perfection.