Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1994. Good Machine. Story by Kelly Reichardt, Jesse Hartman, Screenplay by Kelly Reichardt. Cinematography by Jim Denault. Produced by Jesse Hartman. Music by John Hill. Production Design by David Doernberg. Costume Design by Sara Jane Slotnick. Film Editing by Larry Fessenden. Independent Spirit Awards 1995. Independent Spirit Awards 1997.
Kelly Reichardt’s feature debut takes place in Dade County, Florida, where a bored housewife meets an unemployed guy at a bar and spends the evening drinking with him before they break into a neighbour’s pool. When they are surprised by the owner of the house, she pulls the trigger on his gun and they hit the road, terrified of being captured by the law while also driving a car without any money or shoes. The hilarious thing about this low-rent Bonnie and Clyde duo is that they barely get five minutes away from the scene of the crime, in fact they are perfectly incapable of committing any crime; Reichardt has very humorously made True Romance with the elements of stillness and silence that have marked her career since her debut, humorously teasing her characters’ ineptness without ever actually judging them harshly. The visual style has gotten stronger and the confidence to leave behind genre trappings has come with each passing film she has made, but there’s no denying that there was always talent from the beginning, particularly the level of performance she gets out of her actors, who are interesting and sympathetic throughout.