Movie of the Week: From Dusk till Dawn (1996)

Robert Rodriguez directs George Clooney, Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis in this Tarantino scripted crime / horror mash-up where two criminal brothers take a family hostage and end up in a vampire strip bar.

Tarantino says he writes two kinds of movies. His real world movies like Pulp Fiction or True Romance. And his “movie movies” where he makes the sort of grindhouse cinema that his fictional character like Alabama Worely or Jules Winfield might watch, discuss and emulate. Who knows where Inglorious Basterds resides in this dichotomy but From Dusk Till Dawn is a definite QT movie movie. So much so he got peer, buddy and genre flick rebel punk Robert Rodriguez to direct it. Rodriguez is a blunter movie maker, he’ll cover up cheap sets and adequate acting with toe tapping editing and brash colourful action. He’s like a down and dirty Tim Burton… his visual touchstones are Peckinpah sweat, Mezcal bottle labels and seared meat going into a burrito. Juicy, colourful, throwaway… but solely his – a Rodriguez movie looks like a Rodriguez movie… and if you don’t believe me here’s Danny Trejo to authenticate it. His movies are no cutlery or place settings needed. They move, they pump. He rides Tarantino’s longueurs of dialogue and hangout hard. Keeps things moving. And when the violence starts, it is lurid, memorable, kinky, RELENTLESS. The prosthetic FX are brilliant but the CGI is under developed. The fatalism and the anti-heroics endearing. Tarantino donates himself an acting role that fits his limited capabilities… a foot fetish perv looking for trouble. Clooney translates his eye-catching TV work on ER into his first big screen score. He is a fucking movie star in this, carries the film through jarring transitions and downward nihilistic moods. As is Salma Hayek in her demonic striptease, she does as much impression making in one sultry scene as Clooney does throughout. This is a great Friday night at the movies. I can’t believe I went to see Tarantino sucking whisky from a stripper demon’s toes with my parents as a teen. MOVIE MOVIE!


My Top 10 Robert Rodriguez Movies

1. Sin City (2005)

2. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

3. Desperado (1995)

4. El Mariachi (1992)

5. Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

6. Roadracers (1994)

7. Planet Terror (2007)

8. Machete (2010)

9. The Faculty (1999)

10. Once Upon a Time In Mexico (2003)

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