Saturday, February 14, 2009

Kill Bill- The herald of tributes.

Quentin Tarantino was always known as a man with an explicit taste. He was a great fan of Asian cinema, in particular. Kill Bill may seem like an outright action movie at the outset. On keen observation we find that it has immense detailing and fathoms of depth in terms of the narrative, characterisation, dialogues, camera angles and most importantly his depiction of dramatic features which are purely 'asian' in nature. And FYI, the story of the movie is not even wafer thin. It is just 'Kill Bill'. 

The central character is the Bride aka Beatrix Kiddo - Uma Thurman. These kind of nicknames are found in Indian movies, in particular. We normally find smalltime outlaws in India called with special nicknames like these, don't we? Everything around the massacre is typical Bollywood (or Kollywood) style. The villain comes straight down to the hero's place. He says some macho dialogue and kills everyone in the family or whatever and just somehow the hero survives. In return the whole band gets it back from the hero after a ressurection phase. This is an average Indian film (or I dare say fiasco!), ain't it? But Tarantino is just too abnormal to make it an over the top action-thriller that completely stuns everyone. Contrary to public opinion, he makes us accept that an average desi script is much better than a neo-noir American script. Spaghetti westerns, Japanese Samurai flicks, Indian masala, American technology- What more do you ask for? In a way it is a tribute towards all these styles of filmmaking that were unnoticed or outdated. But he cuts the negatives of every style of movie making and of course makes the screenplay pure 'Tarantino brand.' 

The tech specs of the movie making are breathtaking. He starts the movie with the precursor scene, piledriving right away with the best dialogue in the film- 

"Are my actions sadistic? At this moment I believe that you are aware of the fact that this is me at my most masochistic."

-This is unadulterated American style- as in Scorcesse or the present Fincher's movies. The movie starts off with a song during the credits and immediately followed by a stunt sequence. Right, our own Indian after all. Moments after all the action, the two people who were fighting start talking like high school pals who meet after marriage- This is the 'tarantinoic' stuff which makes it so special. All the combat and drama take place in non-linear dimension, as always. Just as we watch the sword fights, we tend to tap our feet and fiddle our fingers. It is that awesomeness attached by default with his choice of songs. Hitting the nail on its head is Quentin's power. He manages to do that in style with his super-cool songs that play at the right moment. Green hornet, Twisted nerve and Battle without honor or humanity are my favorites. In my honest opinion, this is the most stylish piece of artsy motion-picture ever filmed. The ultimatum is this- anything can look cool in the hands of this weilder. 

It is a compulsion again and again to acknowledge the genius of the man. We have a specific sequence where Uma Thurman is comatose and is bed-ridden. We observe a mosquito biting her at a distance. It cuts abruptly and gets closer. Cuts, close-up. Cuts, close-up. And we finally see just the proboscis of the insect. A similar close-up sequence is there in Kurasawa's Seven Samurai in the very beginning of the movie. And what follows the scene is Uma Thurman trying to get rid of her coma as she calls it- "Wiggle big toe." These type of rhyming dialogues usually feature in Spaghetti westerns as in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Leone's texas sagas. It is too notorious of Tarantino to note that amidst all this tribute rituals, he has the time to name the car which Uma Thurman lifts as 'Pussy wagon' and paint it pink. He also remembers to say thanks to the anime of the Japanese films. The whole Hattori Hanzo sequence was all pure Chinese filmmaking. The villain's face not shown till the final moments of the movie is again Bollywood suspense movie business. In Vol. 2, we are exposed towards venomous snakes of Africa. I'm not so sure about African movies, but still I could say there are telugu movies generally attracted towards using snakes in roleplay. There is my own Rama Narayanan who made movies with snakes. Not to forget the yellow suit she wears for the 'Crazy 88 showdown' which is a sign of respect shown towards the Kung fu master Bruce Lee.  

She's the baddie. She closely resembles some other baddie who is the brain child of another genius. Right- Alex Delarge of Kubrick, Stanley.

This way, Tarantino makes way for himself in the simplest of situations to show his gratitude and affection towards the masters of the game. Note Uma Thurman's mighty walk, with all mud covered resembling lint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.In a way, he pays homage to himself in the movie. Elle driver takes on Budd with the Black mamba to aid her. As he is bitten by the reptile and is in his final minutes, she dictates a peice of Internet findings where she says- "... gargantuan volumes. You know I've always like this word 'gargantuan', I so rarely have an oppurtunity to use it in a sentence." There is a strikingly similar situation in his Pulp Fiction's most popular breakfast scene, where Jules Winfield (Samuel Jackson) says "You read the bible son? I have managed to memorise a passage in these years to make use of in situations like these. Ezekeil 25:17 ... " There is so much in common between both the scenes. Both were 'pulpy', and in a way of no use at all. Even if these dialogues weren't there the victims would've been killed anyway. Both Elle Driver and Samuel Jackson were gruesome villains in their own ways and captivate the sense of 'evil' and assasinate in such a charismatic manner. As discussed earlier, the subject is too dense that every scene is woven so detailed, that ironically follows a funny scene and to shatter everything a piece of kickass music would appear. Just when you haven't settled yet, we get to see some unique way of blood gushing ot from all vessels. That is how he pulls it off. Magnificiently and Majestically. It is one hell of a way to pay tributes. And I have paid mine. Hail Quentin!

10 comments:

Successful-Failures said...

Durai english la lam eluthuthu ... :P

Nice composition of Torantino's effect ... :)

Venkiraja said...

Thanks, and by the way how did you like the movie and ofcourse the write-up?

gkn said...

superb movie... as always two thumbs up for tarantino's work... btw, Raja do u know the reason tarantino made it in 2 diff parts?

Venkiraja said...

If you notice, a few other Tarantino movies seem to have 2 volumes. But this movie was made into two parts because 'Miramax' the prodcers wanted to reap twice their inputs. Simple. But Tarantino tried to make something of that too. Plus if the movie would've been 4 hours running time or even 3 hours for that matter, it would have surely had decreased the 'style' factor of the first volume and 'substance' sector of the second volume. It is partially justified. If you want more justifications, we surely wouldn't have got 18 tracks in each of the volumes for us to listen :lol:

Sid_316 said...

one of my favourite movies!! nice write up dude!

Venkiraja said...

Thanks sid!
Thanks for all the hubbers who continue to encourage my efforts!

Naresh said...

Nice post... This movie is awesome and one of my favorite too..

Arun Saravanan said...

Quentin Tarantino is one of my fav directors of all time. The soundtrack in his movies rocks. esp in kill bill the"Bang Bang" sung by Nancy Sinatra is one of the best songs in decades. The last chasing soundtrack played when the bride driving a bike with yellow dress is awesome. and the climax fight too got a great OST. QT is a composer's director of all time...

gkn said...

I had this question in mind for a really long time... I think i ve got the answer... nice write-up Raja...

Venkiraja said...

Arun, you mean the 'Green hornet' track in the OST I suppose. My favorite will be 'Battle without honor or humanity'- the track which plays during the grand walk of Lucy Liu and co.

Thanks a lot gkn and Naresh. Please do continue your readership. We'd strive for that.