Thursday, July 21, 2011


Quentin Tarantino, like Brian De Palma, likes to dress up in the old clothes of directors he admires; unlike De Palma, this cut and paste style has for Tarantino, resulted in occasional brilliance and one legitimate masterpiece, Pulp Fiction. The energy and playfulness, however, has become wearisome as this fellow repeats and reiterates his moves, stylistically and intellectually. "Death Proof", his contribution to the "Grind House" collaboration with Richard Rodriguez, was something of a "Pulp Fiction" knock off, overly stylized dialogue about not much in particular slowing down the narrative momentum like a big thumb on an old turntable, and "Inglorious Basterds" was this film maker at his most hollowed-out, glib, verbose, lazily constructed, scenes drawn out and shocks and surprises twists slipped in along the way as a means to distract us from the fact that Tarantino's bag of tricks was a small one to begin with. The irony about the matter of Tarantino is that while he maintains the loves, admires and discusses eloquently the elegant leanness and clean procedural logic of genre films, he cannot make films near their perfection because of his verbosity; as Duncan Shepherd wrote, he likes to hear himself write. It's not that action genre films cannot have compelling or compelling dialogue; the problem lies in Tarantino's reluctance to have a tighter grasp on where his plots and subplots wind up. What he thinks are layers of ironic misdirection,where absolute monsters or amoral reprobates are given reams of well -honed speeches to recite between spasms of bad-doings are, in fact, padding and time wasting. Even  dialogue virtuoso Elmore Leonard, knows to trim his exchanges to advance the action and the surprises. Leonard  has sage advice to those younger writers who desire to have readers finish the books they write or the movies they author:"Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."
Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

1 comment:

  1. Tarantino’s films are intermittently funny but excruciatingly self-conscious, a hall-of-mirrors refracting of pop culture treasure and detritus. His movies are about movies that are about other movies, on and on in infinite regression. At his best, Tarantino has fun at what he does and the fun can be contagious – the Wolf and the Gimp are great minor black comedy characters. But even Pulp Fiction was just a movie of orchestrated gestures and winks, incredibly hollow at its core; watching it is like eating a box of sugar-coated wheat puffs minus the wheat.


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