Why I Can’t Quit Quentin Tarantino

“Lookin’ back, on the track, for a little green bag…”

At the Atlantic, Siddhartha Mahanta writes about he subtle humanity of Tarantino’s body of work, especially Reservoir Dogs:

Rather than just becoming a splatter artist forever worshipping at the altar of camp, Tarantino has long wanted us to know whether his cartoonish killers and tragic heroines prefer crunchy or creamy, how the bad guys wile away the flaccid hours between jobs, and the names of their go-to karaoke songs. He dares to invest buffoons and killers, with an interior, frequently mundane life and in doing so, dares us to invest in those same buffoons and killers. To ignore his fascination with thugs and vigilantes in crisis is to ignore something fundamental.

I’ve been saying this for years. Underneath all the camp and bloodshed, Tarantino is deeply interested in people, in the humanity of his characters, even or especially his villains. One of the reasons Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds works the way they do is the time spent familiarizing the audience to O-Ren, Budd, Bill, Joseph Goebbels (!) and Hans Landa. We come to know these people, to feel when they feel (who among you wasn’t perversely touched when Goebbels tearfully accepted a compliment from his Fuhrer?), and to that degree, to condemn ourselves among them. Tarantino’s films are Macbeth with pithy pop-culture commentary.


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