Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Suck It! Day 14 - From Dusk Till Dawn

Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino bring you maybe the grodiest vampire movie of all time. With a tattooed George Clooney.

From Dusk Till Dawn

This movie is actually two movies, if you ask me. The first half is about Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Quentin Tarantino), two brothers on the lam with the loot from their latest bank robbery, on their way to Mexico. They blow up a convenience store and take a father and his two teenage children hostage so they have a front until they cross the border and meet their contact. Director Robert Rodriguez (and his screenwriter, Tarantino) spend a lot of time here, getting to know these characters. And by the way, can I just say that there are very few people I find less threatening than George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino? Maybe it's just all the years since this film came out in 1996 and all the roles we've seen Clooney play, but it's quite strange to see him play a mean, badass criminal with a potty mouth.

And just when you've forgotten to ask "wait, wasn't there supposed to be some vampires in this thing?" the gang arrives at the biker bar I will not name because I hate the "T" word that is used to indicate breasts. The bar looks like a pretty rough and rowdy place - or perhaps your average Saturday night out in Austin. But when Salma Hayek takes the stage with her snake, things take a sudden - and I mean SUDDEN - turn. A suddenness that would not have been possible without that hour of a totally different movie.

The second half of the film is a fun house ride of blood, viscera, and severed limbs. I was somewhat surprised to find out that Tom Savini (who has an acting role in the film) was not involved with the gore effects. It's pretty gory nonetheless. Most memorable to me is the guitar made out of parts - the body is a human torso and the neck is a leg. While the bar patrons are being picked off one by one by the strippers and bartenders (among them Danny "Machete" Trejo), all of whom are vampires, the crowd whittles down considerably. There's a fun little scene where the survivors at that point go through the rules and what can kill a vampire, wondering at the same time if what they know is really true or if they've just gotten made-up lore from movies. A preacher (Harvey Keitel), who's lost his faith because of the death of his wife, regains it in the face of this nightmare, and soon it's down to Clooney, Keitel, and the two kids (the daughter played by Juliette Lewis). There's a pretty wicked showdown, and I love the last shot of the film - as everyone goes their separate ways, we pan back to reveal what's at the back of the biker bar. A mostly sunken ancient Aztec temple, which seems to have been the vampires' haven for hundreds of years, and where the wreckage of centuries of victims sits rotting.

Here's one of the trailers, which surprisingly includes Clooney dropping the f-bomb twice (must be a red-band trailer), but really gives you the feel for the two halves of the movie.

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