The Vermont Cynic

Kill Bill: Vol. 1


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I’m sure you’ve heard that Quentin Tarantino is up to his insane tricks again; that is, making avant-garde films seemingly conceptualized by the darkest aspects of man’s psyche. Tarantino transforms this macabre inspiration into his clever and entertaining satires of American and human culture. This time, he does so with the help of the amazing Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, and Michael Madsen.

In “Kill Bill: Vol. 1,” Tarantino addresses a subject that has been on the minds of contemporary film makers in various genres. Tarantino asks “Do we live in a violent culture?” and “When is this violence justified?” The topic has been the keynote of several recent cinematic masterpieces, such as “Bowling for Columbine”, “American Beauty”, and “Fight Club”. “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” effortlessly answers these questions through the viewer’s response. Is our society violent? Yes, because Tarantino can create an uproar of laughter (and millions of dollars) by creating a movie that utilized 450 gallons of fake blood (Internet Movie Database) to get its point across. The fact that a theater full of moviegoers are entertained by a beautiful, young woman biting a man’s tongue out of his mouth and beating his head into the wall, undoubtedly answers Tarantino’s questions.

It’s not all America’s fault though; Tarantino’s genius is partly to blame. The violence is so blatantly absurd that one cannot be ashamed at experiencing joy at such grotesquery. For example, in one scene Uma Thurman butchers eighty-seven men; some of them have twenty foot geysers of blood spurting out of their decapitated bodies. And here lies the real brilliance of the film. Tarantino has turned a subject matter that has made moviegoers cry and feel disgusted into a mere joke. And for those who can’t get the joke; I’m sure Tarantino relishes in the fact that he has irrevocably tampered with your mental stability.

Tarantino also creates a film of revenge. Is the extreme amount of violence in the film, and in society, justified by correcting a wrong? Tarantino seems to believe that is the case. In Kill Bill” Vol. 1″, the transgression towards Uma Thurman’s character (Black Mamba) is shameless. Her old posse, an assassination squad of some kind, come and kill all the guests at her wedding. There is only one survivor of the massacre, Black Mamba. Her feelings of betrayal and hate motivate the movie, which is really the tale of Black Mamba’s quest for vengeance.

So what’s really cool about “Kill Bill: Volume 1”? A jap-anime spliced into the middle of the movie, extensive shots of Uma Thurman’s feet, a mace and chain fight sequence, and a beautiful blond who could easily be mistaken for a pirate, are all top reasons to see the film (among many other absurdities). So, what’s not so great about this movie? The main complaint is the cliffhanger ending. However, it will presumably be resolved in “Kill Bill:Vol. 2” due to be released on February 20, 2004. Overall, using the standard kitchen appliance rating system (SKARS), I give “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” a butcher knife, for obvious reasons.

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Kill Bill: Vol. 1