thatcow

Style vs Substance

There is going to be a great amount of disagreement on Kill Bill - this much I know. Like some of Tarantino's other films, you'll probably either love it or hate it. Me, I managed to find a place in-between.

Tarantino was after something very specific here, a mélange of 70's martial arts films and his own style. In that sense, he nailed it. Every frame bears a unique trademark. There's a lot of fighting, and a lot of gore, and it's all very much intentional. Even the rather unrealistic blood-spewing stumps we see now and again. The result isn't quite as tongue-in-cheek as Pulp Fiction, but the whole film is about a certain attitude, in a very similar way.

The point of all this? Our nameless heroine, played by Uma Thurman, is out for revenge. It seems the comic-bookish task force she used to be on, led by this Bill character, was responsible for killing everyone at her wedding, except her. Plenty motivation for what we see unfold, right?

Yet, there's something missing. It's all style and very little substance. Beyond the setup and some macho posturing, we don't really get to know these characters. It doesn't take a lot - no need to delve into the past, or other exposition. Just give a hint that something else exists for these people.

Perhaps Volume 2 will put to rest my problems of substance, but I doubt it. Though the film wasn't meant to be split in half, there is too much intention in how it unfolds. If we are lucky, the out-of-order storyline (a nod to Pulp Fiction?) will make sense in the end - but I'm not betting on that either.

Overall, the phenomenal elements of style do impress, but that style has to exist to illuminate something, and I've yet to see what that is. And that's probably what'll force me to see Volume 2 when it finally comes out.

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