The Bayley Film Club: Quentin Tarantino

Welcome to round 14th of The Bayley Film Club! Our guest is… Quentin Tarantino!

Week 14:
Film 1: Reservoir Dogs
Film 2: Django: Unchained

Reservoir Dogs

Author: Agsy E Drapinska
Anticipation: 4
Enjoyment: 5
Retrospect: 4
Score: 13

Tarantino’s directing debut “Reservoir Dogs” is about a group of men brought together by a common goal – robbing a jewellery store. 

The brain of the operation – Joe (Lawrence Tierney) – together with his son and “business partner” , Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn I) – invite 6 men into this operation. For safety, Joe assigns them fake names and forbids chit-chats about personal life. This way, Mr Brown (Quentin Tarantino), Mr. White (Harvey Keitel I), Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen I), Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth I), and Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) are set on a course that will destroy them. 

Tarantino familiarises us with the events in a reverse matter. We jump right into the middle of the robbery to discover that not everything went accordingly to the plan. Trapped between the causes and effects, along with the characters we are trying to figure out what exactly happened and most importantly – who is the snitch. 

Tarantino’s famous brutal scenes with outrageous amount of blood are not for weak stomachs. They are for mature viewers, who also appreciate the outstanding acting required in long shot scenes, and enjoy being surprised by a story’s rapid turns tuned by songs selection from ’60 to ’80. I, personally, couldn’t have asked for more on that foggy evening when we watched “Reservoir Dogs”! Great film!

Django Unchained

Author: Agsy E Drapinska
Anticipation: 5
Enjoyment: 5
Retrospect: 5
Score: 15

“Django: Unchained” is my favourite out of Tarantino’s repertuar. I absolutely adore it – with cast including Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington – who wouldn’t?

But even the greatest actors won’t make up for a poor story. A good script tackling a socially important issue – make “Django…” this rare item that has it all: the acting, the story, the artistic vision, the humour, the music, and finally, the hero!

Have you ever done something wrong that was was following you for a long time like a toilet paper stuck to a shoe? Well, America did, and it’s called slavery. “Django: Unchained” follows a story of a slave, Django (Jamie Foxx), in 1880s’ who was forced to part with his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) and is now on a quest to find her. Luckily for him, he possesses information that becomes useful to a bounty hunter – Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) who tracks him down and proposes a partnership. Meeting the Dr, becomes a life-changing event in Django’s life, thanks to which he discovers his inner strengths, like dignity, resilience, bravery and intelligence. Qualities of a real-life Siegfried.

The film is full of bloody effects that remind of teenager’s storytelling aiming to impress his friends – slightly exaggerated, to say the least. A characteristic that became Tarantino’s hallmark. First and foremost though, “Django: Unchained” is enjoyable to watch, and makes us want to believe that there is (still) justice in the world. 

Reservoir Dogs

Author: NA Tonge
Anticipation: 5
Enjoyment: 5
Retrospect: 5
Score: 15

Tarantino’s classic long takes with punchy dialogue is born in this cult classic. 

A pack of dogs living on the fringes of society, bought together for robbery. Set up by a mole within the pack, the heist goes wrong and those who can, shoot there way out of the LAPD snare and reconvene at an old warehouse to lay low and argue over who snitched. 

The warehouse long-takes and legendary “Stuck in the Middle with you” torture scene attract the most attention, but it’s the backstories that do it from me – meetings with Joe and “Nice Guy” Eddie over a Remy Martin; the “Like a Virgin” discussion; and, the undercover-cop back story. 

“You’re a fuckin’ Baretta. They believe every fuckin’ word cause you’re super cool’’ says Mr Orange to himself in the mirror.

Fuckin’ Super cool! 

Fuckin’ super violent too! 

Django Unchained

Author: NA Tonge
Anticipation: 3
Enjoyment: 4
Retrospect: 3
Score: 10

Criticised by some for having a flippant attitude towards the atrocities of slavery in America, the 19th century southern states are the backdrop for this super violent neo-western.

The film focuses around three main characters. Django, a slave, who is given his freedom by the elaborate Dr King Shultz – a travelling German Dentist turned bounty hunter, and Calvin Candie, an abhorrent racist plantation owner and slaver. 

Django and Dr King play the role of novice Mandingo promoters, looking to purchase on of Monsieur  Candie’s finest brawlers. However, unbeknownst to Candie, the two are secretly seeking to purchase Django’s wife, Broomhilde, following their heartbreaking separation at a slave auction. 

In an effort to built trust with Candie, the film leaves the audience in constant tension – one false move and the game is up!

Apart from being the most engaging character in the film, Dr King Shultz is also most intriguing. He embodies the uncomfortable struggle between survival and morality – he despises slavery, but uses a slave to get what he wants. As a bounty hunter, he also kills for money – he doesn’t have to, but it makes his job easier. 

Nevertheless, during an intense dinner scene, Candie’s racist evolutionary theory is too much for the doctor to stomach, and he does what should have been done a long time ago. Unfortunately, King is killed for stance, which leaves Django the task of finishing off the rest of Candie’s cronies and saving his wife. 

Whilst Django Unchain doesn’t seek to portray an entirely accurate history of slavery in America, it employs incredibly dark humour to correctly highlight such disturbing past events.

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