So Tarantino’s back with his new film Django Unchained, which is unleashed in cinemas on January 18, 2013. But before you go see the multi-award-winning Django we should go back through Tarantino’s body of work to see the five top films that made Tarantino the Auteur (literal translation of author) that he is within cinema today.
5. Inglorious Basterds (2003)
Tarantino’s most recent film prior to Django, this film has all the elements of action-packed explosive adventure in Nazi Germany. Inglorious Basterds is Tarantino’s highest grossing film to date and picked up an impressive eight Academy Award nominations. This includes Tarantino’s casting of Christopher Waltz as a frighteningly realistic SS Colonel Hans Landa, which won for best supporting actor and which Tarantino himself calls the best casting of a character to date. The story takes place in World War two where our Jewish-American heroes are dropped into German territory to take down the Nazi command, including two assassination attempts on members of the Nazi party. These America freedom fighters take no prisoners, making for a rip-roaringly amazing film by Tarantino with plenty of violence to go round.
4. Jackie Brown (1997)
Based on Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch, Jackie Brown is about an eponymous flight attendant (Pam Grier) working for Dial-a-Flight who in order to supplement her low wages transports money for the gun dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L Jackson). She stops her smuggling but is caught by the ATF (Micheal Keaton), who tries to get her to spill on Ordell. After this Ordell tries to kill Jackie, but she convinces him to help her smuggle him millions of dollars, enough for him to quit the business altogether. With many a plot twist to go around it provides a thrilling watch, however, as it is the only script Tarantino did not have some part in writing himself, it misses a few punches. Overall if anything it’s a great comeback film for the careers of Pam Grier and Robert Foster, with many funny lines to keep you on your seat.
3. Kill Bill 1 and 2 (2003 and 2004)
The films that first introduced me to the body of Quentin Tarantino’s work, Kill Bill is his classic take on the revenge / western film, and it has kept me entertained for many a re-watching. It begins with the story of the Bride (Uma Thurman) who is thought, along with her daughter (with whom she is pregnant at the time), to be dead after an assassination attempt by her former boss, Bill (David Carridine). The film revolves around her getting revenge for the five people responsible for her ensuing coma and the death of her daughter. Tarantino is the mashup master in this film, harking back to his 1970s martial arts influences and mixing it with aspects of spaghetti westerns. With one of the best fighting scenes in the history of cinema these films allow Tarantino to really show what he’s made of.
2. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Reservoir Dogs was Tarantino’s first and many would say his best feature, which quickly became a cult classic after its independent / art house release. It revolves around the events of a failed jewellery heist as the remaining criminals try to figure out who set them up. Arguable one of the best ‘indie’ films of all time, it has many classic scenes with Michael Madson and the rest of the cast. Definitely worth a watch.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
The best, the one you’ve been waiting for – it’s of course Pulp Fiction. This is Quentin Tarantino really on form by playfully changing the conventions of a classic gangster movie and introducing his non-chronological film form for which he is so known. Pulp Fiction has all the Tarantino goodies any fan could need sprinkled all over it, including harking back to his Nouvelle Vague influences in a famous dance scene many of you will know. It also allowed Tarantino to revive the career of the once forgotten John Travolta, who helps make the movie what it is. The film deservedly got several Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Showcasing the film style that sets Tarantino apart from other directors, Pulp Fiction is definitely not to be missed.
Also worth a mention are Tarantino’s soundtracks, which consist solely of songs that already exist before the film is made (other than in Django Unchained). Some of these songs really help make their film, and often hark back to great musical talent such as Ennio Morricone.
So that’s my top five. Let me know if I was either disastrously wrong or on the mark with my film choices by commenting below.