favorite movies. I could not include all of them as they would fill the volumes of the Encyclopedia Brittannica from A to L. Besides, a list doesn't convey passion or feeling. So every now and then, I'm going to share with you all some of my faves through the occasional review here. First up, two films that are really one continuous tale, Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece vision, Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2. This review is also part of my friend M's QT Blogathon in celebration of Tarantino's upcoming December release Django Unchained.
There are not enough words in the English language to adequately describe my love for Tarantino and his strong female characters. Like the god himself, Joss Whedon, Q's ladies are unique. They are in-your-face, intelligent and more often than not, deadly. Especially in the Kill Bill flicks. For those not familiar, the Kill Bill movies center on The Bride, a former member of the Deadly Vipers assassination squad. She seeks revenge on her former boss and teammates after they tried to kill her and slaughtered members of her wedding party. The attempt cost The Bride not only years of her life, but her child as well. Then to add to her pain, while she has been in a coma, one of the orderlies has been raping her and letting others pay for the same sick action.
This is one of the finest revenge films ever crafted in my opinion. The character of The Bride is a warrior woman who seeks her own vengeance. In complete contrast to the nauseating soft, passive aggressive females and damsels in distress Hollywood is forever cramming down our throats, The Bride is that rare breath of pure, dizzying oxygen. Uma Thurman owns this role to her pinkie toes. Favorite scene is when she takes down O-Ren's Crazy 88 gang samurai style, slashing, hacking and stabbing, getting coated with blood.
And it's not just The Bride who stands out here, oh no. Check the coterie of female villains. You have the sociopath Elle Driver, the sadistic O-Ren Ishii and the badass Vernita Green. They don't rely on poison to kill. (Can I get an Amen?) They are combat trained, weapons experts with a passion for the kill, just like any male assassin. They don't mind blood on their hands or their clothes. Darryl Hannah, Lucy Liu and Vivica Fox are outstanding, delivering career performances. These are four of the best roles ever written for women.
The f/x and story are simply outstanding. I love the wire work, the fight scenes and the anime. The story is a kaleidoscopic mix of current action and flashback, a potpourri of film genres that include chanbara, girls with guns, martial arts, action, spaghetti westerns as well as rape and revenge. Q literally created a love letter to his favorite kinds of films and he takes us along for the mad ride. His passion shines through every frame of stylized violence, every bar of strange, trippy music and every syllable of brilliant dialogue.
One final compliment has to go to the soundtrack. Tarantino scores will never, ever be mistaken for another. They are as unique to his films as fingerprints to human beings. You get Motown, Johnny Cash, Japanese rockabilly and a whistled ditty that will burn itself into your brain and leave a scar. The RZA reins in this symphonic rodeo and makes it work.
Kill Bill is a sheer, unadulterated cinematic orgy. It is also a sucker punch to Hollywood, who has labored under the misapprehension that women can only survive childbirth and bad relationships. That we draw strength only by bonding with our sisters over handbags, shoes and martinis. You want a 50,000 kilowatt charge of female empowerment? A bloody, high octane good time? See these movies.
A brief note: If you want the full effect of Kill Bill, check out Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair. It's very hard to find, but should be well worth it as it is supposedly the entire Cannes screening plus extended anime not released in the States.