Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will be releasing on the 26th of July. The film has already received acclaim at Cannes and is set around the Golden Age of Hollywood (i.e 1969 Los Angeles). Tarantino’s films have always stuck with the audience long after they are released. All his films have elevated violence often combined with dark humor. Moreover, there are certain similarities between the way the scenes are shot. Though I am yet to watch Death Proof and Jackie Brown, here is an in-depth analysis of the Quentin Tarantino style of filming.
1. Long Conversations and Monologues
I first saw Pulp Fiction at the age of 14. Ten minutes into the movie and I got bored. I quit and re-watched it three years later only to realize that it was a gem. The opening scene is about a couple at a restaurant. The guy explains that a person once robbed a bank with a telephone. They examine the pros and cons of robbing different places. Ultimately, they proceed to rob the restaurant themselves. Probably, the most famous scene from any Tarantino movie is Jules Winnfield reciting Ezekiel 25:17 before proceeding to kill poor Brett.
Another example is the opening of Reservoir Dogs. The gang of robbers is arguing about tipping the waitress. The point of these long conversations is that what follows next is unexpected. It keeps the viewer engaged in an absurd conversation that probably has no significance. This factor of long conversations separates Quentin Tarantino from other directors.
2. Mexican Standoff
According to Wikipedia:
“A Mexican standoff is a confrontation in which no strategy exists that allows any party to achieve victory. As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension, which remains unresolved until some outside event makes it possible to resolve it. “
A part of the classic Quentin Tarantino way of storytelling, we have seen such a situation in the climax of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction ( the restaurant sequence) and the much more violent bar shootout of Inglorious Basterds. The bar shootout is more memorable because of the way it slowly builds the tension in the scene. The British spy uses a different hand gesture to represent “three” than what the Germans do. He is quickly discovered and loses his life in the shootout. The way his true identity is discovered is pure genius.
3. Tarantinos Wicked Sense of Dark Humor
In Pulp Fiction, a Jerry Seinfeld like looking guy fires six bullets at Vincent and Jules, missing each time. They kill him and Jules says:
“Did you see the size of the gun he fired at us? It was bigger than him.”
Another moment is when Hanz Landa meets the disguised group of Allies at the movie premiere.
This scene is funny because of:
i) Hans Landa laughing in an unusual manner. (Justifying why Christoph Waltz won an Academy Award)
ii) Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz’s expression when Landa is laughing.
iii) Aldo “The Apache” Raine speaking in his Appalachian accent.
iv) Landa making them repeat their fake names.
v) Omar Ulmer’s Italian hand gesture.
Another scene is when the KKK tries to kill Django and Dr. Shultz. Jonah Hill had a small role but it was memorable. The clan people argue whether or not they should be wearing bags or not. The entire argument is hilarious, especially considering the fact that they are planning to kill people after it.
The next part will cover some more factors of QT’s films such as the violence, the non-linear storytelling, and the music. Stay tuned.