Kill Bill, Vol. 1

I still think it’s notable that Quentin Tarantino commands as much mastery and millions given that this is his fourth film. Granted, he’s had a definite hand in other films such as Natural Born Killers but I just think it’s weird he’s considered such a big name when he hasn’t even started to really build his canon. I’m not doubting or dissing his talent – just noting that he hasn’t really built the status he seems to have (at least not yet…).

Kill Bill is a triumph of style, editing and combat. It has the same clean concept that Run Lola Run has – you can boil the entire movie down to one sentence and the movie rides on that premise successfully. I won’t pretend to even begin to know any of the references in style and frame that Tarantino pays homage to – but his talent for creating an alternative universe where everyone is a badass is one of the greatest things about his films. You want to be a character in his movies because everyone is so cool and hot. Everything is fetishized – from a Japanese schoolgirl walking down a staircase (swinging a morningstar) to Lucy Liu taking off her slippers in white snow – every move, look and blink of an eye is styled to the hilt. The anime sequence being the culmination of this.

The one thing I realized watching this movie is how to use music to ‘reset’ a scene’s pacing. The combat sequences are long and extended and contain multiple pyramids of escalation and pacing and I really started noticing how allowing a breather and then re-ratcheting with a new soundtrack in a different style helps keep the scene refreshed.

Tarantino’s ear for dialogue – a contrived set of grammar and slang – also remains and lets air breathe between sequences. I liken this movie a bit to the Charlie’s Angels movies because they both build, exploit, deviate and then discard styles and idioms left and right. And who knew Darryl Hannah was still all that.

All that said – I thought the movie lacked heart. Or soul. The technique was expert and a delight – but I thought there was something missing. Ron thought it was sort of boring. I liked it, understood why people go nuts over it but I’m keeping my nuts to myself this time.

(note: haven’t seen Volume 2 yet – please don’t leave any spoilers!!!)

One thought on “Kill Bill, Vol. 1

  1. Jef

    You make some good points, Andy. A good screenplay should be able to be summed in a concise sentence to be saleable. I’m eager to see this movie. The concept of two movies released so close together is exciting too.

    I saw Mr. Tarantino on Trio and he was showing his favorite movies all week. He presented an old movie called “Hey Diddle Diddle” with the actress who played Glenda the Good from “The Wizard of Oz.” It was hands down one of the funnies movies I had ever seen and it was made in the ’40’s.

    And you’re right about Darryl Hannah too. Thank God she is finally doing something more than running away from Jackson Brown, a straight-to-video Adams Family movie and a Robbie Williams video. She may not be the most versatile actress, but in the right part, she does an awesome job.

    COMMENT:
    I thought the movie would have been better experience, had I not seen the trailer, which contains all the best jokes. Although I’m a big fan of Tarantino, Uma, Lucy, Darryl… I sometimes got the feeling that they were just doing their jobs, unlike the characters from Pulp Fiction. I thought one of the best editing tricks was when Lucy Liu is walking down a hallway with her gang, and there’s a short pause and then 3 quick zoom cuts in tune with 3 loud stabs in the soundtrack.
    Anyway, I don’t want to watch the trailer for Vol. 2, and before I see that movie, I have to watch the Japanese Uncut version with all the blood and gore intact. Cheers.

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