Quentin Tarantino. A man that is as controversial as he is talented. I thought it was an appropriate time to reflect upon his illustrious career in anticipation to his new release, 2015’s ‘The Hateful Eight’.
Tarantino started his directorial work back in 1983 with a short film named ‘Love Birds in Bondage’.
Since, he has directed and been involved with other productions, and has cemented himself as one of the greatest film directors, both alive and of all time.
His unusual approach and nature can be credited for his edge above other ‘mainstream’ films and directors, with his regular use of some serious blood and gore, a non-linear story line, masterful and witty dialogue, as well as fantastic acting.
The man has never been too shy to speak his mind; never holding back from starting arguments, debates, conflict and portraying his rather negative perspectives of individuals and institutions.
Most recently Tarantino fired away at Disney for their conniving attempts to boost Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
(Check out Tom’s review here) ticket sales and revenue, as they forced Hollywood’s famous Cinerama Dome to screen their film instead of Tarantino’s, to which he boldly claimed they were “trying to f*** [him]”.
Moreover, at the time of the release of ‘Django Unchained’, Tarantino was himself unchained, and fully-fledged verbally abused a highly acclaimed Television Presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Watch the interview below.
QT’s first full-length feature film was Reservoir Dogs from 1992, a film which not only established him as a budding film writer and director, but also won many awards. Taking a similar approach to the classic film ’12 Angry Men’, Tarantino’s low-budget utilizes a small group of actors in a room for a large portion of film, relying on dialogue and character development, all of whom are on a mission to pull off the perfect diamond heist.
I would describe the film as raw, as there are so many Tarantino-isms visible in the film; great action and blood, a stellar soundtrack (one of his better soundtracks), lots of tension and obviously, riveting discussions between the gangsters.
What followed was undoubtedly Tarantino’s best film; Pulp Fiction.
Here, I labelled it the best film of the 90’s, and rightly so. It’s immaculate way of engulfing audiences into such a quirky world allows for an almost perfect cinematic experience. This truly is a remarkable film, with so many memorable quotes, scenes and music, all of which has become immersed in the Pop Culture of today – I personally own a ‘Bad Mother F*****’ wallet and a UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs t-shirt.
The film only won one Oscar (Best Screenplay), but was nominated for 6 other categories. If you have never seen Pulp Fiction, you’d be surprised how a movie that spends ten minutes talking about hamburgers is so great.
Prior to releasing his 1997 film Jackie Brown, Tarantino was involved in several smaller projects, as well as a number of altercations, most notably in regards to his issues with Oliver Stone and the film ‘Natural Born Killers’. There were fights about changes to the script which occurred without Tarantino’s involvement, and the face of his anger and temper was revealed when he slapped a former co-worker and producer of the film at a Los Angeles restaurant.
Jackie Brown is one of his lesser-known films, only grossing just below 40 million dollars, and being unsuccessful in the awards category. Nevertheless, the film starred a powerful trio of Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton and Robert De Niro.
Tarantino has not only always had a strong passion for film, but also theatrical performances and shows.
After ‘Jackie Brown’, he removed himself from the bustling Hollywood scene, and took his talents to Broadway, where he was an actor, not a stage director, writer or producer like you may have thought.
Unfortunately, these ‘talents’ were scarce, and it soon became evident that he was better suited to directing films. Enter: Kill Bill: Vol 1 and Kill Bill: Vol 2, two films that eliminated all of his loyal fans’ anger regarding his 6 year drought in film making. Already having a great relationship from their work in ‘Pulp Fiction’, Tarantino hired Uma Thurman to play The Bride, a performance that sliced and exceeded all expectations.
Yet another non-linear story, there is a crazy amount of blood, smoothly choreographed fight scenes, great actors and a revenge like no other, that results in some awesome entertainment.
In 2007, Grindhouse was released. Being a double-feature film, with part of it co-directed by Robert Rodriguez, this is a 3+ hour saga that wasn’t amazing, but not terrible. A combination of ‘Planet Terror’ and ‘Death Proof’, this would be the one film on this list that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend, and wouldn’t be disappointed nor shocked if someone told me they haven’t seen it, let alone heard of it.
Next up we were treated to Inglorious Basterds, my pick for the second best Tarantino film to date. A slightly satirical take on one of the greatest tragedies in human history, QT explores Nazi occupied Europe through several characters, to whom each other start off as strangers, yet their individual stories eventually cross over and their paths meet, resulting in an epic destruction and mass murder of Nazis and Hitler himself (which yes, included a heap of blood!).
Brad Pitt’s performance is notable, as he greatly manages to recreate himself into an American soldier and lead a crew of fellow Jewish soldiers into the heart of the Nazi France and cause havoc all around.
Most recently released was Django Unchained, where Tarantino voyaged into previously untraveled waters; The Western. It was great, and followed the story of an ex-slave turned bounty hunter’s pursuit to retrieve his wife from the oppression of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character.
The violence, quick-firing guns and brutality is wonderfully done, with Tarantino’s voice and style omnipresent throughout. Perhaps the best casting since ‘Pulp Fiction’, the elite four of this film contains Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and of course, Samuel L. Jackson, all of whom are absolutely amazing.
Tarantino has had a remarkable amount of success, and I believe it has to do with sticking to a similar formula for 20 years.
The formula features a perfection of dialogue, storytelling (including the non-linear plots), action and violence, as well as his regular use of similar casts. With Samuel L. Jackson acting in 5 of his films, and Harvey Keitel 4, he has built a close rapport with his cast and crew, understanding what each one brings to the table. His recent involvements have also included the two Television Series’ of ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ and ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’.
If you haven’t worked it out by now, I love the work of Quentin Tarantino and his unique presence in the film industry.
I hope The Hateful Eight will continue his legacy of a genius director and film maker, and that he doesn’t stop once he reaches ten films like he has claimed in the past.