Thursday, June 4, 2009

Operation Screenshot (Films of the 2000s): Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 2 (2004)

Quentin Tarantino told a wonderful story to David Letterman a few years back on The Late Show regarding a meeting he had had with Warren Beatty. Q.T. and Beatty were discussing the pivotal title role of Bill in Tarantino's latest genre bending epic, when Beatty informed him that unfortunately he wouldn't be able to play the part. Beatty paused afterwards and then asked Tarantino if he knew who would have been perfect in the role. After an intrigued Tarantino asked 'who?' Beatty responded, very seriously, 'Elvis Presley'. It's a wonderful little story and a profound one as Beatty understood completely that the role of Bill couldn't be played by just an actor, but that it needed someone truly larger than life. With Elvis unable to play the part and Warren unwilling, what a wonderful choice David Carradine turned out to be, and the role of Bill would provide a wonderfully iconic capper to a fascinating and larger than life career.
I was going to hold off doing any kind of tribute to Kill Bill until the much anticipated Whole Bloody Affair box comes out but, with the news of the sad passing of David Carradine coming through today, now seemed to be an ideal time.
I often find that the greatest films demand a little time and multiple viewings to fully expose their true virtues. Such was the case with Kill Bill Volume 2 as, like a lot of fans, I was disappointed when it first came out. The first volume had been so hugely entertaining and invigorating that the sober and relatively calm follow up seemed a let down. Time has convinced me though that the film is, along with my beloved Jackie Brown, the most emotionally resonate film Quentin Tarantino has ever delivered...and perhaps the bravest. With the inevitable backlash against him now firmly in place, I remain an enthusiastic Tarantino fan and supporter, and this film more than deserves a place on my favorites list of the decade. Also, any work that manages to pay homage to both Lucio Fulci and Hal Needham within a few scenes of each other is tops in my book...

...and, as if I needed to say it, this post is dedicated to the mighty David Carradine.


Ibetolis said...

Beautiful dedication Jeremy.

I really didn't go much on Kill Bill vol.2 on first viewing either but, like you, it's grown in stature since the initial disappointment and I get so much more from it now.

I imagine I'll feel even more when Bill takes those 5 steps.

R.I.P David Carradine.

Keith said...

I always loved Kill Bill Vol. 1 more than this one. I've grown to love this one much more. I wanted even more of David Carradine. I can't believe he's gone now. I was saddened and shocked when I heard the news. R.I.P.

Joe Valdez said...

I've been waiting to see Kill Bill released as one epic for some time now, as the "whole bloody affair" is one of the best films of the decade.

Splitting Kill Bill into two volumes not only forced audiences buy two tickets for one movie, but diluted its appeal, probably robbed Uma Thurman of awards consideration and turned off a lot of fans who liked one volume over another.

Your article and screen shots remind me of how emotionally resonant this flick was. Awesome post, Jeremy.