Thu 11 Apr 2013
Death Proof may be the most typical Quentin Tarantino product since Pulp Fiction. Those who love Tarantino will love the film and love him more, those who hate him will have at least one more item to add to the list of cinematic infamies they believe he is guilty of. While other pictures made by him in the last decade deal with bigger stories, or re-write episodes of history (WWII and the Holocaust, slavery and fight for emancipation) from the Tarantino perspective, Death Proof is almost a cinematographic alternative to Pulp Fiction, taking its inspiration from the low cost B-movies genres – horror thrillers and slashers.
The film comes in two packages and I must mention that I have seen and I am writing here about the standalone Tarantino-only version. It lasts almost two hours and is symmetrically divided into two stories of equal duration. The common (and BAD) hero is Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) who is using his large and iron-strong car as a terror and murder weapon. In the first part he is set on killing a group of young and brainless girls he meets in a bar some place in Texas. In the second part he tries to do a similar act in Tennessee, but he runs out of luck. One of the girls happens to be a stunt-woman, another one seems to know what world she lives in and carries a gun. Not only that his murder plan fails, but the girls will respond with a vengeance. Almost like in Kill Bill. All things considered, Tarantino must be a feminist of some sorts.
Some of the 70s movies techniques, starting with titles, ending with credits, colors and quality of the film give to Death Proof the air of authenticity and credibility. Beyond Russell and Tarantino himself who as in most of his movies takes a small role in the good tradition of Hitchcock, there is fine acting worth mentioning by Zoe Bell (a stunt woman herself, with the looks of a muscled Jodie Foster) who steps ahead of the crowd of beautiful women and leads their transformation from preys to hunters. The film is violent as any movie by Tarantino, but I must observe again that Tarantino’s violence is so exaggerated and so cinematic that you can feel his smile (actually rather a grin) telling us – ‘this is just entertainment’. Trash? certainly, but this trash is so pure that it’s gold.