By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
And he with her, although the movie’s real crush is Tarantino’s, on Uma Thurman. Not since Josef von Sternberg worked with Marlene Dietrich has a filmmaker created such a wild, splashy, rococo universe in order to idolize an actress. Of course, fan boy Tarantino eroticizes Thurman in a distinctively modern manner that would have struck ’30s Hollywood as bizarre bordering on lunatic. Not for her the slinky outfits and soft-focus gauziness. Instead, Tarantino shows The Bride drenched in blood or covered with dirt, cracking wise and kicking ass, sobbing spasmodically and killing with gusto, flying through the air to launch a leg kick and tumbling to the ground in a searing pang of maternal love. Bringing emotional resonance to a role that’s pre-eminently physical, Thurman shows us The Bride transforming herself from a pitiless viper into a right-to-life lioness. Tarantino’s work has been all about codes of honor and moral awakenings, and like Samuel L. Jackson’s in Pulp Fiction, here is a character whose epiphany brings salvation.
When Vol. 1 was released last fall, I thought it an artistic mistake to split Kill Bill in two. I believe that even more strongly now. The first film was an orgy of pyrotechnics, profoundly heartfelt because Tarantino so loved the films he was emulating (and often bettering), but somewhat hollow in its fetishized mayhem. Vol. 2 is the most sheerly enjoyable movie I’ve seen in ages, allowing for all the intimacy that was missing from its predecessor — this time, the violence feels personal. Yet this film, too, would be richer if it didn’t stand alone, but rather were part of one grand grind-house epic. For Tarantino’s conception takes The Bride (and us) on a journey that’s as formally daring as it is stylistically dazzling. Where conventional filmmakers would begin with the spectacle of the House of Blue Leaves (the Saving Private Ryan approach) or use it as the grand finale (every single James Bond picture), he puts it in the very middle, making it the stylistic hinge and emotional turning point: What really matters happens on either side of the killing. I’d love to see what the whole story looked like were it pruned and shaped into one 210-minute saga.
Even so, viewed as a whole, Kill Billis destined to become a cinematic touchstone — the Gone With the Wind of exploitation pictures — and one wonders exactly what loss of confidence (or whose mania) led to it being sawed in half. No matter. It’s all out there now. And it confirms what some may have doubted: Quentin Tarantino is a lavishly gifted filmmaker whose every frame is alive with a passionate love for what movies can offer — movement and music, color and energy. Nowhere is his unbridled joy clearer than at the very end of Vol. 2, when he serves up the most jubilantly redundant credit sequence in Hollywood history, reintroducing the characters, naming his actors over and over, showing us even more footage of the radiant Thurman. You can tell that after nearly four hours of telling The Bride’s story, Tarantino’s still bursting with enthusiasm. He wants Kill Bill to go on forever.
KILL BILL: VOL. 2| Written and directed by QUENTIN TARANTINO | Produced by LAWRENCE BENDER | Released by Miramax | Citywide
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city