I already wrote at length about True Romance in a Movies that Made Us column a few years ago, and most of what I have to say about the film on a personal level was said there better than I’d restate it here.
On a critical level, I guess it’s the time to admit this recent rewatch of Arrow’s new 4K edition of True Romance and all of the special features finally allowed me to internalize how much of this film’s charm and success is due to Tony Scott and not Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino sold this script after his success with Reservoir Dogs. It certainly feels like one of his, and it’s not worth trying to de-emphasize his contribution to the film. But listening to the two commentary tracks, and watching the ending that was cut, it’s clear that the romance of the story came from Scott’s keener and more experienced understanding of the story he was telling with idealistic comic-store worker Clarence (Christian Slater) and his soulmate, Alabama (Patricia Arquette). It’s a perfect blend of Scott and Tarantino’s impulses, and one of the best films in either one’s filmography.
Naturally, I became really excited last summer when Arrow teased the first 4K release of the film, only to deflate a bit when it was announced to be UK-exclusive. Few films have tempted me to invest in a region-free player. This was one of them. Fortunately, Arrow smoothed out the impeding rights issues, and now Region A fans can also own the best version of True Romance yet.
I don’t say that lightly. Not that I have any particular attachment to my older versions, of course, although I’ve watched them countless times. The new 4K restorations (of both theatrical and director’s cuts) are magnificent. They’re crisp and clear.
Arrow’s Limited Edition follows the same physical format as their other similarly-priced sets. The film features a slipcase with a reversible cover, six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby cards, and a 60-page bound booklet with essays by Kim Morgan and Nicholas Clement, as well as reprints of the 2008 oral history from Maxim magazine. Also featured is filmmaker Edgar Wright’s eulogy for the late Scott.
Special features include most of the content found on past home video releases, including audio commentaries by Scott, Tarantino, Slater and Arquette, and critic Tim Lucas. Select-scene commentaries with Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt and Michael Rapaport also make the jump, joined by new recordings of Bronson Pinchot and Saul Rubinek. A substantial number of deleted scenes are included, with commentary by Scott, mostly regretting cutting the snippets he’s describing (he was right to cut most of them). A few of those scenes were part of the unrated cut, which is not available on this disc.
New content is limited to the packaging, the film’s restoration and a few new interviews conducted via Zoom during pandemic times. These include costume designer Susan Becker; co-editor Michael Tronick; co-composers Mark Mancina & Jon Van Tongeren; and Larry Taylor, author of Tony Scott: A Filmmaker on Fire.