Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kill Bill Vol. 1. A-

In 'Kill Bill' Quentin Tarantino seems to be suggesting the close relationship between the Western and the samurai genre. Or perhaps he's simply restating the idea made in 'The Magnificent Seven,' a Western remake of Kurosawa's 'Seven Samurai.' Regardless, Tarantino is clearly mixing the Spaghetti Western with the samurai films in his two-part triumph. And I must admit they do go very well together. But my only question is this: how could Tarantino make a movie this inspired be this original? Though Tarantino draws from both Sergio Leone's Westerns and the style of the classic samurai pictures, he's clearly not just trying to make his movie a homage, like 'The Good German' was. He's simply using this inspiration as a base for his unique vision of a tortured soul seeking revenge. Tarantino has mostly abandoned his trademark dialogue to focus entirely on style, mood, and storytelling. And by doing that he's blossomed into, in my mind, a great director. The first volume of 'Kill Bill' is exceedingly bloody. When limbs or head are severed we see blood spraying out like hose. The action gets going almost immediately as The bride (no name, easily an illusion to Clint Eastwood's man with no name), played by Uma Thurman, is seeking vengeance for something terrible that happened to her on her wedding day. We know she almost died and that a man called Bill is responsible. The first stop is at a typical suburban house where she confronts and proceeds to engage in some serious fighting with a woman who was a part of her near-death experience. The mother has a young daughter who's just arrived from school, but that doesn't stop the bride from going through with the murder. And for the rest of the movie it's the bride doing just that: murdering people. Tarantino is keeping plenty secret, which is fine because we know we'll get answers in the second volume. Here he's just displaying his ability to construct an action scene and his glee at the sight of copious bloodiness. Tarantino must have a had a great time making the film, but I think the viewer has an even better time watching it. True, the movie doesn't do much engage the audience in sword fights, but it doesn't really have to. This is Tarantino showing he's mastered the skill of visual moviemaking. He can get as personal as he wants in volume 2.

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