Tarantino & Violence

Andrew brought up by a post by one Henry, to which I feel obligated to respond to.

For starters, Tarantino does not celebrate violence. The film undoubtedly in question is Reservoir Dogs (Kill Bill‘s violence was for different reasons I won’t get into). Here is a movie that occurs in the time it takes for a man to bleed to death. Henry mentioned Taxi Driver which fits into this because it’s based off of Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground – a novel which attempts to do with rational egoism what Machiavelli did to political animals and which Tarantino was doing with violence.

The film is anti-violence because it shows you what violence is really like, what it really does to a man. There aren’t heros taking hundreds of bullets and still fighting on nor anybody taking one bullet and dying peacefully off to the side. Bullets to the stomach produce lots of blood, and Tarantino shoves this in your face. Violence is not pretty, not the unrealistic portrayal presented in previous films. This is why the film is so influential and important. Dostoyevsky challenged the egoists by providing a realistic portrait of what a rational egoist would really be like. Tarantino challenges popcorn-movie directors by providing a realistic picture of what violence really is.

Bowling for Columbine

I watched Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine tonight. Yeah. You need to watch it. It was not even close to the liberal leftist propaganda I thought it would be. Trust me, if your only exposure to Michael Moore was his boo-ed Oscar speech you ought to just set that aside for a couple hours to see this film. Plus to characterize the documentary as “anti-gun” or a “gun control” movie is slightly off. Moore also hits on themes of racism, fear, mass communication, and violence. In fact if there’s something the film really needs is a central, defining thesis. I appreciated the randomness of it all, but perhaps I would’ve more clearly understood it all had there been a stronger stance on any issue. Not that I’m particularly uncomfortable with the open-ended question of Why are Americans so violent towards each other?

Bowling for Columbine (2002, 120mins, rated R): Reviews | Criticisms | Rebuttals

I also saw Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs twice within 24 hours. Not nearly as thought-provoking as Moore’s film of course, but I’d say it’s fairly deserving of its hype. I do prefer films with a bit better cinematography – Tarantino’s medium-long shots can get tiresome though I was impressed at the emotion and drama he can evoke without even necessarily showing the character speaking. There are also some wickedly funny parts to the film which was surprising for me. I definitely see why the film has influenced so many others and really a pretty solid directing debut all around.

Reservoir Dogs (1992, 99mins, rated R): Reviews