Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Kill Bill, Volume One.

quentin tarantino returns with kill bill, his fourth film, and it is, simply, the finest thing he has made.

reservoir dogs suffered from being lifted from ringo lam's city on fire, or at least the last twenty minutes of it. pulp fiction suffered, primarily, from being to interested in its own coolness, but it also had quentin tarantino in it. jackie brown suffered from being stale and boring. what does kill bill suffer from then?

they made it two films.

granted, the pacing up to the end of the film is fine. tarantino ends the film in a fine way, leaving you hanging for the next installment, but that's just it, isn't it? kill bill is ninety minutes long, hardly an ordeal, and i could easily have sat in it for another two hours, watching uma thurman run gracefully through this flick. that it's been chopped in half, and that we only really learn about lucy liu's cottonmouth character, and thurman's bride waking up and getting her sword, leaves us with a lot of film left, and the momentum built from the first, possibly, lost by the second. but. but. but titanic was three fucking hours, maybe a bit more, and i sat through that--which proves that i am more than willing to sit through tarantino's operatic revenge flick kill bill, right? damn right.

the film is a disconnected narrative, strongly wound around the central revenge plot by tarantino. it's not surprising that it is done so well, considering the this is how reservoir dogs and pulp fiction, the best of his previous three films, have worked. the film opens with uma walking up to vivica a. fox's door in the middle of middle class suburbia, which results in a knife fight until fox's four year old daughter returns home. it is there that the tarantino shows his hand towards sergio leone's spaghetti western films by presenting us with a character with no name. later, we learn that the cops who discovered her named her the bride, due to the nature of her brutal beating, but there is no way to ignore the shadow of leone.

revenge narrative are strange things. simplistic in their goals, they're surprisingly easy to get wrong. one only has to look at the crow franchise to see this: outside the first film, everything else has been an utter waste of time, from the following films, to the tv series, to the comic books and novels. of course, kill bill is a different revenge narrative, in that the characters around thurman are tainted with a sense of inevitability, almost as if the fact that they are going to die (and, that, as madsen's character says, they deserve to) is a forgone conclusion. there is, in the bride, the sense that she is taking very little joy out of the killing, and that like the deaths she brings, her position in this is as inevitable as theirs.

it's a stylish film, lavish and bloody, but not as self indulgent as i've heard other people claim it to be. personally, i thought pulp fiction was an indulgent film. i liked it, but it was indulgent, and it had quentin tarantino in it, which out never to happen. (and appears not to be happening in kill bill.) the music is perfectly placed, especially the opening song, the title of which i have forgotten, but which sets the style for the film efficiently.

at any rate, kill bill is an excellent film. i loved it. my only complaint is that it was chopped in half, for reasons i am trying not to examine too deeply in my jaded soul.

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