Kill Bill: Vol. 1 ★★★★

75

"Silly Caucasian girl likes to play with Samurai swords."

Releasing six years after the lukewarm reception of Jackie Brown, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 might be the only film in which Quentin Tarantino has compromised. Not necessarily in terms of controversial content or the mannerisms of his style, but in catering to his audience. The first of two films in his grand samurai revenge epic has inklings of the traumatic fierceness and anguish of Volume 2 (which is an altogether stronger and better movie), but mostly it does away with the real-time indulgence in which Tarantino learned to shape so well. Volume 1 is simply a fucking riotous crowdpleaser - an effect that I'm sure is somewhat lost on me considering I've never had the pleasure of seeing either volume in theaters. Beat by beat, Tarantino moves through long-standing influences and newer obsessions to convey a clear, concise emotional journey accentuated via balletic, outrageous bloodletting. It is the beginning of the story and not much else, but the template is ferocious and snappy. What Tarantino has been balancing since, between satisfying his penchant for viscera and elongating his idiosyncrasies, is ultimately found in the difference between the two Kill Bill volumes. You love both, but you secretly have a favorite.

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