One of the most famous American film directors of all time, or at least within cult movie circles, is Quentin Tarantino. His dark and often sadistic films that feature a little bit of pain, a little bit of dry humor, and usually a great deal of violence and murder as well. Despite Tarantino’s twisted sense of humor, it is hard to debate that his work has proved to be some of the best in the industry. The following is a list of his contributions to American film.
Tarantino’s debut film, the crime film tells the story of a diamond heist gone horribly wrong in flashbacks that happen before and afterwards although the actual crime is never actually seen. Starring Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, and Chris Penn Tarantino even wrote himself a small role into it along with Eddie Bunker the former criminal and now acclaimed author. Among the constant themes in the film are those that Tarantino is now well known for, violent crime, a nonlinear storyline, and a large use of profanity scattered in throughout.
Outside of Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction is arguably one of Tarantino’s largest contributions to the cult film history of America, as the film is known for its crazy storyline, continual use of ironic violence, rich sarcastic and ultimately dark dialogue, and plenty of pop culture references that are ironic in themselves since Pump Fiction is often seen as a pop culture icon today. It is also known for helping to save the career of John Travolta while at the same time boosting the careers of Samuel l Jackson and Uma Thurman all of which received Academy nods for their roles in the film.
An adaptation of Rum Punch, the American novel by Elmore Leonard, Jackie Brown is a shout back to the blaxploitation films of the 1970’s. The plot follows Jackie Brown played by Pam Grier as a flight attendant that works for a small airline that pays little but allows her to get away with smuggling money into the US from Mexico for gun runner Ordell Robbie played by Samuel L Jackson. The ATF picks up and from there the story becomes twisted with deals made with the government and behind the scenes as Jackie struggles to stay alive and even get some take home money in the process.
Kill Bill is one of Tarantino’s most modern contributions to pop culture as the two volume film is now almost eight years old, but still lives quite strong in almost everyone’s minds. Originally written as one film, it turned out to be much too long even after Tarantino cut out scenes causing him to split it into a two volume epic, but the move turned out to be advantageous as both films soared to the top of the box office charts and put Uma Thurman back in the spot light as a leading lady in Hollywood. In a short time, the Kill Bill Saga has become one of the coolest ninja films ever.
Death Proof is most likely one of the least viewed Tarantino films every released, but despite the fact that it slipped through the radar it is still a typical contribution to the dark action horror that Tarantino specializes in creating. The film resembles the slasher films of the seventies and stars Rose McGowan, Sydney Poitier, Kurt Russell, and more as it follows three friends that are being stalked unbeknownst to them. Essentially, the stalker kills his victims by crashing into them or various other means with his ‘Death Proof’ car putting a unique twist on a well traveled stalker story line.
The most modern contribution of Tarantino yet to the dark noir genre, Inglourious Basterds tells the tale of two spate plots to assassinate the leader of the Nazi Germany regime one planned out by Jewish Allied soldiers and another by a Jewish cinema owner. Starring Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, and Christoph Waltz the film was a hit at the box office as cinema goers relished the thrill of the fast paced action that leads through each of the assassination plots and the woeful actions of SD Colonel Hans Landa, so much in fact that it won Christoph Waltz a host of awards during the 2009 awards season, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.