April 13, 2004

A different sense of time (corrected)

It's hard to decipher whether Kill Bill More is slow because we're supposed to be employing our sustained visual attention (which sort of worked in Jackie Brown, where there was never anything to do but look at Robert Forster's amazing face), or because -- in the style of the worst American films for as long as there's been a European high cinema -- slow is an ongoing signal to the audience that this is art. That's a device that more or less works in early Hal Hartley movies, where every possible lack of vivacity is a symptom of the bleak affectlessness of late suburbia.

But in Kill Bill And Then Some, neither rationale justifies the miserable boredom. When, near the end, David Carradine's Bill asks Uma the hero why she ran away, you can't help but suspect it's to escape the pacing problems. She never gets far. It's not a visually interesting movie, unless relentlessly pointed but irrelevant shot-quotes get you open. Neither are we to be persuaded this is art, with a big or a little a. It's a quippy, mildly wry, violent cartoon with a monologue about comic-books...that is, it's another damn Tarantino flick. The quips, the mild wryness, the violence are exactly the things that come off in the swift passage from one to the next -- in what ought to be their evanescent glory as instances from what once threatened to be an infinite supply of throwaway brilliance -- but seem like leaden stoner sado-maso in this tantivy-laden incarnation, where each slight device asks to be taken as a set piece. Thud...thud...it's like listening to a fat guy climb a long set of stairs late at night, but less narratively compelling.

Posted by jane at April 13, 2004 11:24 PM | TrackBack

Jackie Brown.
David Carradine.

Posted by: Nate Detritus at April 24, 2004 08:23 AM

Nate's correct: two classic cases of wish fulfillment. Come back, Keith Carradine of the Altman/Rudolph glory days!

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