KILL BILL - A brief review of a not so brief script.
Lately it seems that certain sites have been flooded with information and "scoops coming out of Shanghai and the set of Kill Bill. But for this review lets all turn our backs and pretend we never heard them. And if you ever get the chance to read this script follow the same advice, block out everything you've heard. Ignore the rumors. Dive into this monster headfirst as if this is as far as it will ever go in production. Soak up all the minute details Tarantino has written in and the vivid imagery he has provided. Hear the music in your head and feel the pounding of the story's rhythms. I did and I'm here to tell you that this film cannot get any better than it is on the written page, and imagined in your own mind.
Quentin Tarantino disappeared from the bright glare of Hollywood for a few years after 1997's Jackie Brown. A few people thought he was recoiling from what some deemed an artistic failure with "Brown. Many more simply wondered where he had gone for five years. With such promise and anticipation of things to come we all waited with baited breath and few answers. Well if the size, scope, and texture of the story he has lain before us, easily soaring over 220 pages and full of gritty violence, is any indication the man was probably holed up in a dust covered shanty somewhere in a barren west Texas field with a beaten-up typewriter, a fifth of wild turkey, and several cartons of smokes for the last 1800 or so days.
I can see the multitudes of you "Tarantino-is-god fan-boys out there shifting in your seats as you impatiently wait for me to get to the meat and potatoes of this review. There are question you want answers to dammit, and I'm the man with the cheat sheet. Ladies and gentleman I am here to proclaim to the world that even if this film never sees the light of a projector, or by some unholy act goes terribly wrong and off track during production, then the absence Mr. Tarantino required to pound out and shape this story was still very much worth it.
The man behind Pulp Fiction has crafted an excellent story in Kill Bill. It's not a very complicated one, the premise is fairly simple in fact, but what he builds around the simple premise is enough to make every film lover that ever stayed up till 4 in the morning watching late night Kung Fu theater dance with glee. And of course the entire thing is bathed in the wash of quintessential Tarantino cool.
The story breaks down like this. There is this woman, known for the majority of the film as "The Bride, she was screwed over but good five years earlier and now she's out for revenge. That's it. No complex plots. No backward twists and turns. "The Bride has people to payback and nothing is going to stop her.
Now, I have read several reviews that point out how purely violent much of the script is. And I agree, it is full of a great deal of vivid, viscous violence. The trick here , and I think this is one of Quentin Tarantino's strongest talents as a writer, is that he never lets the violence become unnecessary. In fact nothing in the entire 222 page long draft feels like it should be cut out. Everything feels necessary, including all the violence. Payback is a bitch for these people, and when you see what they did to deserve it the proverb that says "you reap what you sow will never ring more true.
Each character is well thought out and sculpted to be exactly what they need to be. And each of them leaves you with a lasting memory of them. There do not seem to be many, if any at all, "throw away characters. A great example of this is a particular nurse that "The Bride calls on at one point. An hour after reading the script I was still chuckling at the one little scene she shows up in.
The pacing is excellent. Nothing feels rushed. The flow is very even and the story easy to follow despite the presence of nearly constant cuts back and forth through time and space.
When the script first landed on my desk and I soaked in its enormous size I thought to myself that there was no way a screenplay that long-winded could stay fresh and involving. In this case it works beautifully. I read many scripts and most that are this long end up needing to be cut at least in half if not more. Most of the time the writer doesn't quite know where they are going and has gotten lost on some side road along the way. Not in this case. This script is filled with minute details of music, cuts, camera angles, and just general notes on the feeling he wants a particular scene to have. When I reached the end I was disappointed that there wasn't more and that I had already finished.
The script for Kill Bill proves two things in my estimation. The first is that Quentin Tarantino is first and foremost a movie fan. And not just of artsy independent films, but also of the super cool old style films that fan boys everywhere dream about. The second thing that this monster of a script proves is that if he knows nothing else the man knows how to write. The story is well crafted with no obvious holes. The characters are interesting and three dimensional, the pacing and attention to detail are excellent. Most importantly though, and above and beyond all that technical stuff, Kill Bill is fun. In fact it was so much fun to read, I'm heading off to do it again right now!
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Until next time...~Bobby
Dont't forget to also check out: Kill Bill Vol. 1