“I don’t believe in elitism. I don’t think the audience is this dumb person lower than me. I am the audience.” -Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino is a rarity in the world of film. He can sidestep Hollywood politics, make whatever he wants (no matter how extreme), say whatever he wants (no matter how offensive), and still receive the critical and commercial credit he is due.
The first Tarantino film I saw was Kill Bill. I was only 14 years old and had to sneak in with a group of my friends. At the time, I thought it was really cool, but I had no idea why. I suppose I was still in a stage where cool sword fighting was a standard of great movies. I didn’t see another of his movies until Reservoir Dogs, and by that time I had a much better understanding of cinema and the art of filmmaking. Needless to say, I was hooked, entranced, awed by what appeared before me on the screen.
Everything Tarantino makes is steeped in style. Most people think of his visual style–the long tracking shots, God’s POV, high contrast black & white, and Red Apple cigarettes. These things are great, but Tarantino’s vision goes way past simple imagery. He doesn’t just tell stories, he creates myths. Watch Vol. 1 and 2 of Kill Bill back to back. Note the way he treats his characters and their settings. They are like the heroes of ancient myths, and the world is their battlefield. David Carradine’s speech about Superman sums up this point better than I ever could (so watch the movie if you haven’t), and I think it applies to many of Tarantino’s characters.
Tarantino is a genius because he knows that great art should go beyond what everybody else is doing. His films are unique. They slap tradition in the face, they question the status quo of cinema, and more often than not they cross a number of lines. When you see them en masse, like you can now do using Netflix, a grand masterpiece begins to emerge from all the pieces. That masterpiece is the mind of the man himself–the enormously beautiful, perfectly fucked up mind of a true artist.
These Tarantino films are available to stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video:
Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Volume 1, Kill Bill Volume 2, Jackie Brown