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Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Amazing on many levels
I was absolutely floored by this movie. When I wrote about Kill Bill Vol. 1, I wrote a lot about the themes (maternal, feminist, violence as catharsis, etc.), and neglected to also point out the sheer FUN of the movie. That movie was the
most enjoyable experience I've had in a theater in years. Now that I've seen Kill Bill Vol. 2, I have to say that the bar for both levels of enjoyment have been raised. Vol. 2 takes the motifs of the first movie and complicates them, making what was black and white in the first volume shades of gray. We see villains with humanity, and we see the Bride grow to realize the weight of what she is doing. Philosophically, her journey becomes more and more complex as she
nears its completion. Where in the first movie, she could make the statement about revenge "It seems irrefutable proof that not only does God exist, but you're doing his will," in the second that moral certainty is no longer so simple. The film ends with Bill's revelation--in two beautiful monologues--that she is no better than the ones she kills; She is a killer, and will never be able to hide from that. She knows that she will have to suffer as much as the ones she kills, and that her actions may have incalculable consequences. And she still does it, so committed is she to her goal. All of that said, the movie is just plain fun to watch. Tarantino puts music, dialogue and images together to create such a cool effect that it is almost impossible to sit through the film without a great big goofy grin on your face. The acting is phenomenal, the writing amazing, the
cinematography (and old movie allusions) breathtaking. 10/10.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
As brilliant and subtle as it is pulpy and visceral
I've noticed that many people, even those who loved the film, have said that this film is "just" an homage to grindhouse films, and is the celebration of style over substance. While agreeing that the style of the film is so breathtakingly original as to potentially overshadow the substance, I believe the idea that there is no substance to this film is gravely mistaken. When I watched it, I saw archetypal images and themes filtered through an imagination with a real understanding of the zeitgeist of our culture, creating an entirely new perspective on ancient, even primeval issues. I saw a story--simple on the surface--in which women rebel against their sexual oppression by men (almost every man seems to want sex with a main character--the rapist, Boss Matsumoto, the goofy guy in the bar with Go Go) and every one of them who does is subsequently brutally, killed. Go Go's line, "Do you still want to penetrate me? Or is it I...who have penetrated you?" encapsulates this them with typical Tarantino economy and style. I see a story of lost innocence...every young character witnesses a horrible act of violence, and the question is perpetually asked: "how will they deal with it?" I see a movie that exhibits the idea in our social consciousness that the world is shrinking, and the rise of Eastern ideas in our Western culture. I see an undercurrent of the immense repercussions when a great potential (The Bride's) is violently repressed, and then unleashed. I see a stylized mediation on the catharsis of violence, as well as a film with a deep understandings of the very real effects of that violence in the real world. And somehow...that thing that makes this film brilliant...it's supremely, unequivocally, immensely enjoyable to watch. It is a movie that tells us why it's okay that we love to see violence--brutal, visceral, bloody violence--in our art, even though we know that violence in the real world is a terrible, terrible thing. 10/10.