A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

film and television
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

KILL BILL VOL 1 (article first published : 2004-03-16)

Split-screen techniques, slow-motion moments, non-linear story-telling, frantic and funky anime sequences, hops between colour and black-and-white, liberal use of chapter headings, subtitles and voiceover narration

Welcome to the gimmick-laden, whacky, but always wonderful world of Quentin Tarantino who, after the acclaimed successes of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, now unleashes his fourth film after a six-year absence.

And, boy, has this adrenalin rush been well worth the wait!

The film is the widely acclaimed Kill Bill Vol 1, the conclusive sequel of which is due within months.

And from the word go, we know Tarantino is going to have enormous fun with this film - we get a grainy, shaky, "Our Feature Presentation" clip straight from the 70s, before a blank screen and the sound of a woman spluttering and choking. Cut to a close-up, in monochrome, of Uma Thurman's bloody, swollen face while a man, with a handkerchief monogrammed with the word Bill, wipes away her blood before sending a bullet into her head.

The woman, known to us only as The Bride, is pregnant, and, along with nine others at her wedding ceremony, has been massacred by Bill (a seldom-seen David Carradine) and his brigade of diva assassins.

Herself a former member of Bill's Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, The Bride is left for dead. Four years later, however, she suddenly wakes from a coma, a metal plate in her head and her baby missing. And, back with a vengeance, she sets out to well, kill Bill first hopping on to fake planes, flying against bright orange skies, to sort out each member of his Charlie's Angel-like entourage. These are sexy, no-nonsense women - among them Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah with an eye patch), the vicious yet honourable Cottonmouth (Lucy Lui) and the domesticated Copperhead (Vivica A Fox).

Clad in a yellow and black tracksuit that nods to Bruce Lee's garb in Game of Death, and wielding a samurai sword, The Bride is relentless in her quest. And she strides through a giddy, garish and quite glorious homage to, and also a stylish reinvention of, the pulp-trash kung-fu and spaghetti western films which kept writer-director Tarantino wide-eyed with amazement as a kid in the 70s.

Fun, inventive, exciting, supremely stylish and always with tongue lodged firmly in cheek, the film is an elaborate, camp caper erupting with cartoonish violence and choc-a-block with nudge-wink references to the thwack-whack, bug-house wonders of yesteryear.

So - think cheesey dialogue, intentionally wobbly flying effects during fights, occasional poor subtitles, and an endless flow of outrageous, ah-so-wow-kapow battle. Oh and blood. Buckets of blood - invariably gushing, geyser-like, from severed limbs in Pythoneseque fashion, most notably in a scene which has Thurman, who has never been better, battling more than 100 baddies in a restaurant.

Another high in this epic film, indeed with all Tarantino films, is the director's inspired, often surprising, use of music. Here it varies from Nancy Sinatra's Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), over the opening credits; to original music by The RZA, Gheorge Zamfir's pan flutes, a sample of Quincy Jones's Ironside theme song and Santa Esmeralda's Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, used as a backdrop for a hypnotic duel in snow in a Japanese garden.

There will be some who will moan about the distinct lack of Tarantino's trademark snappy repartee. There will also be those who tut-tut over the violence overload. Pooh to them - this is marvellous cinema, clearly played for laughs. Superbly. Can't wait for the final chapter. Rating: 9/10. Billy Suter




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart