Quentin Tarantino: The Cult Screen Chameleon

Chloe Varga
18th Aug 2015

He is the cult screen chameleon - playing the role of director, screenwriter, producer and actor. His films have reshaped the entire genres through reoccurring themes of orchestrated violence, powerful soundtracks and sassy (sometimes twisted) characters. He is Mr. Quentin Tarantino and he’s back in town with the new trailer for The Hateful Eight, the eighth instalment in his epic empire. Here are five films that are quintessential Tarantino to get you excited.

5. From Dusk 'Til Dawn (1996)

An American crime fiction cum horror, this is one of Tarantino’s earlier works in which he not only wrote the screenplay but co-stars alongside George Clooney. Tarantino and Clooney play two brothers (the Geckos) who are trying to escape from a string of robberies and murders they have committed. Kidnapping a pastor on a family RV vacation with his young son and daughter, the brothers commandeer the vehicle crossing the border to Mexico. Taking a wrong turn they end up in a desolated strip club, which unbeknownst turns out to be not only a vampire nest, but a hot vampire nest. Selma Hayek performs a seductive table top dance and then war breaks out, fangs and all… with the gang having to fight 'til dawn in order to survive.

4. Django Unchained (2013)

Set in the pre-civil war slavery riddled Great South, Tarantino’s Western is part action, part comedy and all class. Django (Jamie Foxx) saved by quirky German dentist Dr Shultz (Christopher Waltz) from a lifetime of slavery, sets off about the countryside in search of some of the country's most wanted criminals. It’s when they come across Candyland, a large planation owned by the charismatic Mr. Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) that the plot takes a path of twists and turns and a fair share of gunsmoke. Samuel L. Jackson (a Tarantino regular) plays Stephen, a multidimensional character who questions the themes of race and aristocracy which underpin this dark period of history. True to Tarantino it is an unconventional Western that uses a combination of humor and violence and powerful characters to deliver some shocking messages to the audience.

3. Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)

Using the non-linear sequence of events style, Kill Bill: Volume 2 fills in the missing gaps from Kill Bill: Volume 1. This film explores an intricate plot through deliberate stylisation borrowing flavours of grind house kung fu with revenge-fueled comic book styled gangsters. Main protagonist ‘The Bride’ played by the elegant Uma Thurman, is on a mission to ultimately, as the title suggests, kill Bill. The Bride's training scenes with Japanese kung fu master Pei Mai ( Gordon Liu) are a cinematic highlight and are very reminiscent to that of once again a comic book in their sharp colours, dramatic close ups and concise action moves.

2. Inglourious Basterds (2012)

One of the slower films (and often accused of being ‘drawn out’) of the Tarantino empire, this film is all about the dialogue and the pauses in-between. Set during World War II in Nazi occupied France, this is the first film to be set in Europe for the director, which also brings a diversion in style from his previous films. Brad Pitt and Eli Roth play key roles in the Nazi hunting gang named “the Basterds” and come up with some fantastic one-liners. A great cast of characters and a politely passionate plot.

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Without a doubt Tarantino’s most famous piece of cinematic art. It’s in the construction that boundaries of the film world are redefined. Intertextual references to other cult films from the 50’s and 60’s help shape the landscape of the film from characterisation to the script to the soundtrack to the setting. Vincent (John Travolta) and Jules (Samuel L Jackson) play two suit wearing hit men in search of a briefcase with elusive shining contents belonging to their boss Marcellus Wallace. Side plots develop around these two characters - in particular the enigmatic relationship between Vincent and his boss's wife Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) captured in one of the most iconic dance sequences of the 90’s. This film gets better the more you watch it as the events start to link up and tie in (another revolutionary Tarantino style). Music is essential to this film, with a stellar soundtrack that is also equally classic.