Quentin Tarantino likes to be seen as a provocateur. With his eighth flick, “The Hateful Eight,” gearing up to add some mayhem to the holiday movie scene, he has, like always, found himself giving good copy during the press rounds (just the other day, he said Disney was “going out of their way to fuck” him on the release of ‘Hateful Eight’). Similarly, his films have always walked the line between provocative and thoughtful, especially with his depiction of violence and what some call his gratuitous glorification of it. But no matter your feelings on the subject, one thing is certain: QT doesn’t intend for it to be taken at face value.
A couple of years back, around the time of the release of “Django Unchained,” Kevin B. Lee put together a video essay on the killing in Tarantino’s first seven flicks, “The Tarantino Death Toll.” The result feels a bit more like a supercut than an essay upon first watch, but it is easy to see how ‘Death Toll’ could, and probably should, be seen as something more that just a compendium of each of the approximately 560 deaths that populate his films. The thought and craft that go into Tarantino’s movies make it obvious that such violence isn’t there just for the sake of it: we are supposed to feel confused; we are supposed to appreciate the art and beauty of the take, while reflexively being disgusted over the content; we, above all else, are supposed to think.
Warning to viewers: As you might expect, it’s a relatively graphic affair, as any QT fan ought to know.
Check out the video below, and head over to Fandor to read Kevin B. Lee’s take on his work — it’s a more thoughtful compilation than it might seem on the surface. And, as always, don’t forget to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.