Quentin Tarantino began his career with a fascination with film, a pen and a notepad. He began his scripts aged fifteen and held down a variety of jobs linking to the film industry in some way or another. He was interested in theatre and participated in a few plays before deciding that his real passion lay in scripts and directing. His first script was for a film called My Best Friend’s Birthday in the 1980’s which formed the basis for a film I will talk about in more detail, True Romance. It wasn’t until 1992 that he directed and produced his debut feature film, Reservoir Dogs which he was able to make on a small budget from the money he earned through selling one of his scripts.
no wonder his characters and movie posters have become some of the most iconic and recognisable ones of this age
Tarantino films are notoriously characterised by random and strange sequences of seemingly ordinary dialogue amidst chaos and an overly violent setting. His characters are bold, vibrant and he often casts the same actors across many of his films, note Samuel L Jackson. It is no surprise that after working in film video stores and so on that Tarantino referenced pop culture and great soundtracks within his films as he seemed to grasp what it is about films that audiences love. I can’t say that I have watched every Tarantino film but I have watched a few and one that he wrote but didn’t direct. It’s safe to say, all of them left an impression and it’s no wonder his characters and movie posters have become some of the most iconic and recognisable ones of this age.
Kill Bill: Vol 1 & Kill Bill: Vol 2 (2003, 2004) directed by Quentin Tarantino
The Kill Bill films are some of my absolute favourite movies overall. The revenge story of a pregnant bride and former assassin is an intense, thrilling, action-packed, graphic novel style triumph. Whilst the film is incredibly violent to the point where many scenes are just bloodbaths, the soundtrack and the script keep it emotional and personal. We root for the heroine and we follow her on her mission to find ‘Bill’. Uma Thurman plays the lead in the film and she does an outstanding job of captivating the audience and embodying the word ‘fierce’. It’s no wonder Tarantino cast her again in one of his films.
Pulp Fiction (1994) directed by Quentin Tarantino
This is one of Tarantino’s most iconic films starring Uma Thurman, Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta as well as many other famous actors. The film flips between several characters individual plot lines with some interlocking and overlapping during the film. The characters are all brilliantly acted considering the script at times can be crazy. But it is this authentic and original style of screenwriting which makes Pulp Fiction so watchable. I would recommend that you watch this one just because of how famous it is but it also demonstrates Tarantino’s style. You can’t get bored watching this film because there is always so much happening.
Django Unchained (2012) directed by Quentin Tarantino
Django Unchained is an excellent take on the story of a slave who teams up with a German bounty-hunter to find his wife, ‘Broomhilda’, who is still enslaved by the notoriously evil ‘Calvin J Candie’. It is described as an American revisionist Western and the music, costumes, setting and script make it a great watch. Tarantino is aware of how an audience reacts to stories of America’s past and is able to balance scenes of brutality with dark comedy which works so well. The story is full of excitement, humour, action, revenge, love and much more. Again, it is a film that is able to capture the emotion as well as satisfy the audience’s need to see ‘Django’ take steps towards getting revenge.
Inglourious Basterds (2009) directed by Quentin Tarantino
So what if there were two plots to assassinate Nazi leaders, one carried out by a woman and the other by a group of Jewish soliders? Well Tarantino tells this exact alternative history in Inglourious Basterds. It is a dark comedy in places due to the subject matter, but the film manages to entertain the whole way through following the two storylines. We follow ‘Shosanna’ on her mission to assassinate Adolf Hitler at her cinema screening, teaming up with her Afro-French lover, ‘Marcel’. Whilst she plans this attack, the ‘Basterds’ led by ‘Aldo Raine’, also prepare for a massacre at the cinema. The journey of all the characters and how attached you get to their plan is where Tarantino’s writing mastery is showcased.
True Romance (1993) directed by Tony Scott (script by Quentin Tarantino)
This film, although not directed by Tarantino, was one of his early scripts. True Romance is a brilliant film with one of the most iconic theme songs ‘You’re So Cool’ composed by none other than Hans Zimmer. The film tells the story of a call-girl falling in love with a guy who works in a video store and their mission to run away from her pimp and drug lord ,whilst having stolen some of cocaine by mistake. The film is violent, in true Tarantino style, but the sweet-sounding music and the real love between the two young protagonists make for a wonderful presentation of contrasting elements and the desire for escapism.
Quentin Tarantino has of course made, produced, written and acted in a whole host of other films but for now these are the ones I would say capture the variety of his movies across the years. The next instalment to the Tarantino filmography is set to be Once Upon A Time in Hollywood which is due to be released in 2019. Tarantino fans are already eagerly anticipating the release of this and it would be interesting to know what he adds to this film that makes it able to compete with such excellent precursors.