Firstly, Ruzzie, I gotta say, I saw your Twitter and thought ‘it’s Tarantino, how can I be setting myself up for disappointment?’. Truth was, you were right.
Was Deathproof that bad? No. But first lets go through first things first.
Deathproof, for Merrilee, who asked me last night, is Quentin Tarantino’s 5th film, and part of a double feature with Robert Rodriguez. His film of the set is Planet Terror. Paste that together with a bunch of trailers for films that (yet) don’t exist, and you have something akin to the old grindhouse double features of the 1970s.
Disappointment number one was that I only got one film, when I was sorta expecting the double feature. I think the trailers are there on the disc somewhere there.
I liked the whole concept. Tarantino seems rather influenced by the cinema of the 1970’s, and I can jive with that. I was alive for 5 years of the 70’s. Kill Bill was rather like it, with various techniques. The hard cut between scenes, the zooming in far too quickly on a persons face. Deathproof had a whole lot more, including film scratch, bad editing, jumping audio. At first, it was almost overdone, and distracting. Then in the second half of the film, it had vanished altogether.
So what’s it about? It’s about a bunch of girls who talk a lot. And a psychopathic guy (Kurt Russell no less) in a big black car who likes killing girls with it. This film has two Tarantino staples; lots of talking. Hyperviolence.
The girls talk. A lot. The conversations are long. Most of the film is sitting on our ass, talking. It reminds me of the old Royale with Cheese conversation, except it’s a lot, lot longer. And, you can really feel Tarantino’s scripting in the conversation, people have a very particular way of talking. Which is sorta fun.
When the action does come, it all rather feels like a one and a half hour build up to one of the best car chase scenes I’ve seen in a very long time. Easy really, given that it’s a real car chase. No CGI. Wow. Is that all it takes to make a good car chase? People take note. The twenty or so minutes of the chase was well worth the price of admission.
Not so sure on all the talking. But then, you just have to sink into the lives of these girls and go with the flow. Down for the ride … I wonder if grindhouse films really humanized their characters as much though?
What I do love about Tarantino’s stuff though is the world that he creates. It’s the tiny touches. Things like the Acuna Boys. The mentions of foot masssages. The fabric and thread that knits all of Tarantino’s films together. The sheriff from Kill Bill. The Twisted Nerve ringtone. It’s something I like doing in writing. When I can stick to one style.
So. Taken as itself, it’s an ok film. Taken as a grindhouse double feature, it would have been better. It’s ok to sit through a bad film, if you have more bad to watch after. And I was half expecting the second part of it too, but it never came. As far as films go, Deathproof isn’t as trashy as it could be. Planet Terror sounds trashy.
Actually, if you want trashy films involving black cars and girls, check Wheels of Terror. Entirely ridiculous, seemingly implausible, and incredibly low budget.