Thursday, 29 September 2011

Postmodernism: Film Review on Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003)

FIG.1: Kill Bill Vol.1 Poster
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Producer: Lawrence Bender
Year: 2003
Cast: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, the master of non-linear narration and aestheticization of violence, Kill Bill  is a delicious mix of genres, cooked together to give a plate full of action, drama and the bitter sweet taste of revenge. The film opens with an intertitle displaying the quote "Revenge is a plate that is served cold." and that is what the entire film focuses on with breath taking fighting scenes and enough blood to leave you with a bad stomach. As Mendelson mentioned: "It's saying something about the sheer amount of battery and blood-letting that Tarantino works into this film that the final act of killing comes as something of a relief, and strikes you as almost as it's dainty." ( Mendelsohn. 2008:150)
FIG.2:  Fight scene in the snow

It is obvious how this film was named as a Postmodern one as it's borrowing traits from other films and operates in part as a homage to them. It is filled with exaggerating stereotypes and a stylised fusion of Hong Kong action and spaghetti westerns. The film displays martial arts in a most exaggerating way, deriving from legendary figures from martial arts mythology. Taking in 1970's Samurai films with extreme blood effect, Tarantino pushes it to the extent and somehow satirizes the particular film genre. Another element which evokes memories from this entire action film genre is the silhouette fighting scene including a lot of camera focusing on the eyes and the heroin's yellow jumpsuit allures to Bruce Lee. 
Other than borrowing from martial arts action films, Kill Bill is also making use of the cheap Western Films genre known as spaghetti Westerns which emerged during the 1970's. The first person point of view the extreme close ups and the fading of the scenes definitely have a western touch to them and Tarantino with his ingeniousness managed to combine those polar opposite genres in a very successful way. 
The way Tarantino introduces the heroin's enemies is superb, especially the anime sequence of her first enemy.   Other than that the use of suspense and the cheesy monologues reflect a soap opera.

FIG.3: Anime Scene
In conclusion, Kill Bill is a film that might confuse you, it might bring you back memories from other films, disgust you to the extent or make you laugh with its ridiculousness in martial arts. Whatever the case, it will trigger you to watch it again and will provoke a different feeling to you every time. "Tarantino compresses it all into a stratum of pulp. And now is as good a time as any to reflect how thoroughly since 1991 he has persuaded a generation of moviegoers that, all along, they have known and cared as much about this cult world as he does." (Bradshaw. 2003)

List of Illustrations

FIG.1: Kill Bill Poster At: (accessed on 28/9/2011)
FIG.2: Fighting Scene At:  (accessed on 28/9/2011)
FIG.3: Anime Scene At:  (accessed on 28/9/2011)


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