Apparently I saw this movie years ago and just don’t remember, which is typical of my memory I guess. The only scene I really remembered was Bama doing cartwheels by the train yard… which is also a fitting image for the whole tone of this movie: endearing, raw, but also nuts.
I love this movie, I think I should start off with that. So this may be a slightly biased opinion. It’s over the top, yes, but it’s supposed to be, and in some ways I think it also speaks to how being in love is insane. You find a person who matches you in fundamental ways that can be hard to define. In this case, Clarence and Bama are clearly crazy. They may have had a front of a “functional” life (to some extent) for a while, but then they meet each other and the chaos ramps up to a new level, which is what happens when you love someone. You make choices and do things you might not normally do… though, for most people, that probably doesn’t entail killing people. I mean, Clarence may have killed people before he killed Bama’s pimp, but we really aren’t given much reason to suspect that’s the case… and what’s better is that Bama thinks it’s so romantic when he offs people for her!
One thing I really enjoy is that Clarence tried the same pick-up approach with a blond at a bar, giving his spiel about living fast and dying young. It doesn’t work on the first woman, but it works on Bama. What is so genuine about these characters is that they are consistent. Consistently crazy, but genuine. Clarence doesn’t change himself or change his approach to attracting women, he just finally meets one to match his own crazy. He accepts Bama for who she is, for lying about being a call girl, etc. He acknowledges that he had the best time ever with her, and that doesn’t change even though his boss paid for Bama to go meet Clarence. His experience stays the same. And for whatever reason when Bama said she wouldn’t lie to Clarence ever again… I believed her. She declares she is a good person, and you believe that too.
Bama is quick to share her true self and quirks, like discussing movies over pie after going to the theater. It’s just so endearing and helps to build her “real ness.” Bama doesn’t blame Clarence for bringing back the wrong bag from where she was staying with other call girls, a bag arguably worth much more than her clothes. She just giggles and keeps things moving. And even when things get dangerous later on and she’s all alone, fighting against a drug lord’s henchman, she stands her own, doesn’t give up Clarence, and is able to defend herself … which is refreshing to see from main female characters… even though the movie is off the wall, which is in line with Tarantino’s brand of screenplay.
A lot of people die and and get hurt in the wake of the relationship between Bama and Clarence. And no matter what trouble the two get in to, they narrowly escape. I was actually told that in the original version of the movie Clarence dies at the end. I was like, of course they would have to change that! The whole vibe the movie sets up is just that this crazy couple barrels through the universe and things work out for them. They walk away bruised, but relatively unscathed. So of course he would make it through a crazy shootout and Bama protects him.
I love the juxtaposition of the upbeat music when things are serious in the movie as well as how Bama presents as a ditzy young woman, but then her voice overs have a sophomoric sort of insight to them… it’s all just amazing and so well done in my opinion. Take for example at the very end when she articulately describes what she would have done if Clarence died. It’s magical.
Anyway, if you have seen this movie, I would love to know what you think. If you haven’t, and I’ve spoiled it for you, well, you were warned, but it’s still worth checking out.
~*~ Natalie ~*~