“Is that a tasty beverage or is that a tasty be-ve-rage?”
For a film that Tarantino himself claims was “the worst film he ever made”, I was definitely intrigued. After watching it, I feel that if this is Tarantino’s “worst” then I definitely won’t mind if he keeps making bad movies! Death Proof is the second movie in a feature called Grindhouse that Tarantino worked with Robert Rodriguez on. This movie is supposed to be reminiscent of the old slasher B movies made in the 70’s. I can’t say I’ve seen too many of those, but I didn’t have to in order to appreciate the good film that this is and it might be up there as one of my favorite Tarantino films, despite being his least favorite!
Death Proof is split up into two acts where each act is devoted to a separate set of characters. It can easily be startling to the audience when they are suddenly disconnected from a group of characters they were once watching and thrown into another group but Tarantino does it flawlessly. This kind of “jump” made me think of one of his previous movies, From Dusk Til Dawn, in which he throws the audience for a loop by completely changing the plot line of the movie. Although a risky move, it’s something I’ve learned to accept of Tarantino and actually enjoy. It says something of a director when he can suddenly change narrative to different characters and still keep a nice flow for the movie and also make the audience feel like they have been following these characters the whole time.
Each act revolves around two groups of girls who are being stalked by a sociopath stuntman (Kurt Russell) who takes joy in murdering attractive women with his “death proof” car. In Kill Bill you could tell that the movie wasn’t to be taken too seriously and it exaggerated many aspects of the film in order to personify a certain genre and we get that here in Death Proof as well. I’ve read many criticisms that this film just had too much dialogue and I strongly disagree. Yes, we get a lot of dialogue in this film but what did you think was going to happen coming from a director who loves incorporating lengthy dialogue in movies? Personally I found it engaging and really showed us who these characters are. That was especially important in the second act where we have such little time to get to know the characters and care for them before the climax of the movie begins. Maybe those people who are criticizing it just don’t care to hear women talking!
I also really loved the fact that this film had solely females in the leading roles, with the exception of stuntman Mike of course. I know we had Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, but Tarantino’s movies have mainly been dominated by men and this was a really nice change of pace. They were all really great but my favorites have to be Zoe Bell and Tracie Thoms who, for me, were the highlight of the second half. They were alluring and badass at the same time and those are traits that work very well together!
The climax of the movie is a 20 minute long car chase that has to go into some sort of record book for awesome car chases. I was actually shocked when I realized that it was 20 minutes long because watching it, it did not feel like that long. Tarantino does a good job of pacing it so that instead of wondering when this chase is going to be over, we are on the edge of our seats wondering what’s going to happen next. I was very impressed with it and especially to the fact that no CGI was used and that Zoe Bell did all of her own stunts.
As I said when I posted about Reservoir Dogs a few weeks back, Tarantino never fails to conclude his movies with awesome endings that leave me completely satisfied. Death Proof was no exception. The ending was actually my favorite part. This movie will take you for a crazy ride; it’s what you would expect from Tarantino. And contrary to his views on the movie, is probably one of my favorites from him. This film certainly deserves more credit than it gets and one that I’ll probably be watching again and again.