Quentin Tarantino doesn’t have a film
school diploma hanging from his wall. No, the Knoxville, Tenn.,
native learned his trade and cultivated his perversely quirky,
creative mind from a much more sublime and reflective place than
any university: behind the checkout desk of a video store.
Accompanied by long-time colleague Roger Avary, Tarantino spent
his early years tirelessly watching celluloid classics and
analyzing them for himself and his eager customers. Now, some 20
years later, it’s quite evident that his early research and focus
is paying off.
Tarantino has undoubtedly proven himself to be a master both
behind the camera and with pen and script in hand, but what exactly
makes him so great? What about the eccentric cinephile and his ways
endears people so?
Just think for a moment about the general approach he brings to
the table: a big-screen cocktail of ultra-violence, humorously
salacious dialogue and intriguing, well-sketched characters. It’s
safe to say that this technique has since been emulated on
countless occasions and carries with it a very unique appeal.
But it’s not just Quentin’s knack for all things crude or his
ability to make light of accidental murders or the sexual
undertones of Madonna songs that makes him such an able artist.
Perhaps more importantly, he has great reverence for the classics
and a very sound understanding of the characters, stories and
filming techniques that made the box-office triumphs of yore so
amazing. He doesn’t attempt to over-complicate his plots or
outsmart viewers with sleight of hand; rather, he just makes deeply
nuanced, rich stories and characters that make you fall in love
with their depravity.
His monumental work “Pulp Fiction” is exemplary of this
approach. He makes the escapades of two sleazy hitmen, a lowlife
boxer and some cracked-out druggies into a tightly woven epic
journey of sorts that cannot be denied its place among the greats.
It’s a simple, pulpy tale of criminal dealings that Tarantino made
exceptional through a reverential approach that draws on classical
techniques and motifs but enhances them just enough with his own
zesty innovation. It doesn’t attempt to outwit the audience or
appeal to the higher sensibilities; it’s unapologetically crude but
in the most artful of ways.
Tarantino’s style and approach to his craft have brought him
this far and gained him great distinction, but “Kill Bill” provides
him with perhaps the grandest outlet for his special creativity.
Even the crummiest of filmmakers could make something out of a
story about buxom ninja assassins; just the thought of this concept
in Tarantino’s hands is arousing.