Directed By: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel
Tag line: "One night is all that stands between them and freedom. But it's going to be a hell of a night"
Trivia: Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi were approached to play Pete Bottoms but neither could fit it into their schedules
I kinda wish I’d done things a bit differently prior to watching From Dusk Till Dawn. I wish I’d avoided the trailer, and all of the reviews that revealed important plot points. But I didn’t. I was fully aware of the movie’s big twist well before I saw it, and even though I loved the film, I couldn’t help but wonder what my reaction might have been had I not known what was coming.
Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez, From Dusk Till Dawn follows the exploits of the Gecko brothers, Seth (George Clooney) and Richie (Quentin Tarantino), a pair of outlaws wanted for, among other things, armed robbery and the killing of several Texas police officers. Hoping to escape into Mexico, the brothers kidnap Jacob (Harvey Keitel), a former man of the cloth, and his two kids: Kate (Juliette Lewis) and Scott (Ernest Liu), who are traveling in an RV. With the promise that he and his family would be released once the brothers were safely in Mexico, Jacob drives the Geckos across the border to an all-night biker bar, where Seth has arranged to meet some old friends. Yet as they learn all too quickly, this particular saloon, situated in the middle of nowhere, is far from your average hangout.
George Clooney, who at the time he appeared in From Dusk Till Dawn was starring in the TV drama, ER, brings intensity to Seth, coupled with a firm grasp on reality, something his brother sorely lacks. As an actor, Tarantino has always been a bit hit-and-miss for me (he was appropriately over-the-top in Grindhouse, but absolutely terrible as an Australian cowboy in Django Unchained), yet as Richie Gecko, the psychopath following in his older brother’s footsteps, he delivers what I feel is one of his better performances. Of the two Geckos, his Richie is the more unhinged (he rapes and kills a bank teller they had taken hostage), and Tarantino perfectly captures the character's disturbing nature. And if you like action, From Dusk Till Dawn has plenty of it, starting with a showdown at a convenience store in which the Geckos face off against a lawman (Michael Parks) and a cashier (John Hawkes) before finally burning the place to the ground.
As for what happens when the group makes its way to the bar in Mexico, I’d rather you experience that for yourself. I will tell you the second half of From Dusk Till Dawn features a handful of recognizable performers, including Cheech Marin, Fred Williamson, Danny Trejo, and Salma Hayek, as well as a twist so extreme it will have you forgetting everything that went before it. I realize this twist has already been revealed by a slew of others (As an FYI, it’s even spoiled in the trailer below, so beware), but on the off-chance there’s someone out there who hasn’t yet seen the movie, I have no intention of ruining what I believe is an excellent surprise.
And if you're one of those who haven’t checked out From Dusk Till Dawn… what are you waiting for?