so I finally saw this movie... Twice. I have talked to people
who love it fervently and I have read reviews from people who
seem to hate it with a passion, and after seeing the film, I realize
that both sides seem to feel this way for the very same reason:
Quentin Tarantino has an unquestionable talent for engaging an
audience. Some people may have been duped into thinking that this
is a serious film, given its powerful performances and incredibly
melodramatic score, but this picture acts more like an exercise
in style. The story is so bare, so simple, and for the most part
lacks depth; but what's amazing is that Tarantino is able to plow
forward on a highly engaging narrative without very much information
to work with. Since the story is so lean and straightforward,
all of the filmmakers are free to layer wild, and oftentimes disparate,
elements onto this simple structure while Tarantino and editor
Sally Menke weave it in an incredibly complex manner. Every cut,
every turn seems to lead the viewer from one major pop reference
to the next, hardly giving them enough time to breathe, and unifying
it with an eclectic powerhouse soundtrack comprising of some choice
"found" music and some beautiful tracks from the RZA.
films are about the issues we deal with in our everyday lives
and we can take them as though they "mean" something
to us. Kill Bill vol. 1,
on the other hand, is simply about that strange, kaleidoscopic
world that exists in the aisles of our local video store. The
themes and issues the characters deal with acting only as a device
to get the viewer emotionally invested in this glorious, cheeseball
world. For me, this is candy for a sweet tooth, since this is
the world in which I spent so much of my youth. On display here
is the same raw fun that comes from watching films like Big
Trouble in Little China, but where Carpenter mostly took surface
elements, here Tarantino chooses to dig real deep and walks you
(or rather runs you) through a fantasy world populated
by the characters of this b-class film world as if they live and
breathe and continue to walk the earth. For those that are not
familiar with action film stars like Sonny Chiba or the "legendary"
character he plays, Hattori Hanzo, I'll have to admit that you
may feel a little less enthusiastic about a few of the scenes
that Tarantino has served up specifically for those in the know.
With a nudge, nudge, wink, wink, the geek film god plays out some
scenes with an inordinate amount of melodrama, knowing how those
viewers, like himself, might feel about the subject, while perhaps
slightly disorienting those that are just walking in with no prior
knowledge. Now, I'm not saying that simply referencing something
gives the film credibility for being brilliant, but knowing and
being able to chuckle as these scenes play out adds so much to
the viewing experience.
course, on its own, the film is an infectiously entertaining romp,
packed with some of the most beautiful images to be shot on film
in recent years, woven together masterfully in a style reminiscent
of that displayed in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the
West (complete with character theme songs) and unified by
one of the most electrically charged soundtracks ever put to film.
With Kill Bill vol. 1, Quentin Tarantino has gone and done
what he set out to do in the first place: to prove to the world
that he is one "badass" filmmaker. Hehe.
so exciting is that this is only the first half. And what's more
exciting than that is this is a director who really knows how
to end a film.
for my apologies and disclaimers...
may sound incredibly enthusiastic about Kill Bill vol. 1,
but it took me a couple of viewings to get into this mood. So
for those that are into this kind of thing, hell even if you're
not, I recommend catching it twice. The music alone is worth the
price of admission.
what a lengthy post. I guess this is what happens when you go
to school to "study film". My school may not have taught
me to make films, but I sure know how to watch 'em!