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Watch: 10-Minute Video Essay Explores Quentin Tarantino’s Masterful Character Building

Watch: 10-Minute Video Essay Explores Quentin Tarantino's Masterful Character Building

It may be true that Quentin Tarantino is in love with his own dialogue. Make that shamelessly, deliriously, high-school-stalker in love. But hey, if you were the twisted junk-culture poet who created characters as iconic as Mr. Pink, Vincent Vega, Jackie Brown, and Colonel Hans Landa, then you’d feel pretty good about yourself too. 

There’s a reason we here at The Playlist are constantly re-visiting the films in Tarantino’s filmography: he’s one of the best writers of pure movie dialogue working today, and his seemingly effortless ability to create memorable and original screen characters is hard to beat. We find ourselves caring deeply about the chatty low-lifes, death merchants, and wacko movie mavens who populate Mr. Tarantino’s blood-speckled cinematic landscape, and the reason for this is simple: in many ways, they’re just like us. They may tote big guns and speak in impeccably eloquent movie-nerd slang, but in between set pieces, they talk about the stuff that we all talk about: where to get a good cheeseburger, John Woo’s “The Killer,” the art of tipping. A video essay titled, fittingly, “Let’s Get Into Character,” is an illuminating look into Tarantino’s process, as well as his rich and intoxicating cinematic world.

READ MORE: 17 Copycat Films Spawned By Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’

The essay begins with an old screenwriting maxim that firmly establishes the author’s point of view: know who your characters are when they’re alone, and know who they are when they’re with other people, putting on a show. Our narrator then proceeds to draw a line between character-building scenes that are informal then dramatic. The pitch-perfect opening scene at Pat and Lorraine’s coffee shop in “Reservoir Dogs” is a rambling, conversational prelude to the bloodbath heist that kick’s the plot into motion, while the deliciously languid walk-and-talk in the opening minutes of “Pulp Fiction” acts as a sort of appetizer to the hearty, furious, Royale With Cheese meal of a scene that follows. It’s a smart technique that showcases Tarantino’s deep and sincere love for his characters, almost all of whom converse in some form of hyper-profane geek speak. It’s also interesting to note that many of his characters speak as if they somehow know they are characters in a film, or at least in some form of fiction – hence that nifty title!

Check out the whole ten-minute video below. [via Live For Films]

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