There was a time when discussing Quentin Tarantino really only involved a handful of films, namely Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. But as cult hit followed cult hit, the man slowly emerged from being a largely quirky director, known for bizarre, yet well-made productions, toone of the most celebrated directors/writers of all time.
Let’s take a look back at how he got his name, and how his work developed into something more than just a reputation as a cult hero.
Pulp Fiction released more than a year after Reservoir Dogs, but it was this 1994 smash hit that really put his name into the media spotlight. Pulp Fiction quickly gained a word of mouth reputation as that gritty, yet charmingly quirky flick that reinvented John Travolta.
But it was more than just quirk, of course, that saw this movie blossom as a classic. The fantastic soundtrack, interesting philosophical discussions, infamous overdose scene, and basement rape scene, all came together to cement Tarantino as having a style that wasn’t just different, it was different with real purpose.
Although Travolta would once again erode his new found fame, Tarantino would only go from strength to strength.
Kill Bill: Volume 1
The Kill Bill films saw Tarantino take what can be considered as his biggest leap forward into a new era. Releasing in 2003, Kill Bill: Volume 1 retained everything that made Tarantino well known, but stepped away from gritty gangsters in grounded settings, instead utilising a significantly higher budget to transport viewers into another reality entirely.
This duo of films proved, without question, that Tarantino wasn’t a one trick pony, capable of carrying films on quirk alone. Dramatic special effects, substantially higher production values, all encased in the trademark Tarantino quirk, the Kill Bill films were what Tarantino needed to propel his career into a new era.
After Death Proof, which perhaps isn’t the best Tarantino flick for a number of reasons, the 2009 Inglourious Basterds once again blew audiences away. Comparing Basterds to Pulp Fiction truly demonstrates just how far Tarantino came, with Basterds being nothing short of a directorial masterwork.
Powerful tension twists nerves up to 11, before an explosive trigger, followed by a flurry of violence, whiplashes the viewer like a car crash. It is no exaggeration to say that entire cinemas were spellbound, with barely a cough heard until the final credits.
Few directors can do what Tarantino does, and yet he makes seem effortless.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is a celebration of cinema, the story of a man struggling to adjust to an evolving world, plus a tongue in cheek poke at the infamous Manson murders. That the film even got made in 2019 is testimony to how powerful Tarantino became in the film industry. It is, all in all, a shockingly nuanced production to still have seen a mainstream release, and still have managed to be a success.
Plus, of course, most can acknowledge that the subject matter of the movie itself illustrates Tarantino’s own struggle to remain relevant in an industry that has evolved so dramatically.
It has been suggested that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will be Tarantino’s last film, as suggested by himself on a number of occasions. It’s safe to say it’s made him afortune. If it is in fact his last film remains to be seen, but there is no question that the movie is yet another outstanding entry into a truly impressive career.