Vengeance is Clean; Vengeance is Cruel

J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he teaches writing to college students and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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11 Responses

  1. Rufus F. says:

    If you’re going to deal with moral issues, you should have a moral perspective, or even an immoral perspective. Tarantino lacks this altogether, which is why his movies seem so vapid with repeated viewings. He just knows movies, not people. His films are like cinematic mix tapes of things from other films. Granted, he has visual style and an ear for dialogue, but that’s what makes it so depressing. He’s like a great filmmaker who has never and will never make a great movie.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

      There’s a genre out there that might fit, maybe, in this Tarantinoesque category.

      Black Dynamite kinda might fit. It isn’t a slavery revenge film per se… but, it seems that like Tarantino, it’s a genre that ought to have a great movie even if it never will.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

        Spaghetti westerns + blacksploitation films, which I’m guessing was how this movie was pitched.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

          that, since slavery can’t be reduced to the shorthand of “murder,” it’s harder to ignore the question of the particular cruelties revenge would call for.

          It seems that the particular cruelties from Blaxploitation films (the one from most of the ones that I’ve seen, anyway) involve being needed by The Man. The Protagonist doesn’t need The Man. He’s doing fine on his own. The Man needs The Protagonist, though and comes out and says as much. The Protagonist helps, kills some people that The Man couldn’t handle, helps some people beneath The Man’s notice, and sows some seeds.

          He demonstrates strength, industry, virility, and, most importantly, INDEPENDENCE.

          It’s a pity that so many were crap.Report

          • Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

            Yeah, there are some really bad ones. Most of those exploitation films at that time were made by a sort of alternative studio system that could be as formulaic as the majors, but was just cheaper. There were a few good ones. Jack Hill never made a movie that wasn’t entertaining at least and he did a few. Jamaa Fanaka made three great ones (Welcome Home, Brother Charles, Black Sister’s Revenge, and the first Penitentiary) while in film school that blended neo-realism and blacksploitation. I’d note that my opinion of him is not exactly mainstream. And The Spook that Sat by the Door is one of the most radical movies ever released by an American studio (which was why the FBI called for it to be pulled from release).

            In general, those films work best when the main story is loudly about victory, but the subtext (often that supplied by the culture of the time) is quietly about failure. That’s when they have resonance.Report

    • Do you think he’s a psychopath?Report

  2. Maxwell James says:

    I loathed Inglourious Basterds, and that’s as someone who enjoyed most of Tarantino’s prior work. Sad to see he’s continuing on this idiotic direction.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Maxwell James says:

      I read an article about IG that talked about how many of the actors had said something to the effect of “isn’t it great that we’re finally doing this?”Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Maxwell James says:

      I didn’t even loathe IG, just found it bloated, boring, and ultimately pointless. (I expect the same would be true of Kill Bill.)

      John Barth is a brilliant writer, a constructor of brilliant edifices, prose that alternates grace and pyrotechnic, plots so clever than they still amaze on the tenth re-reading, in short, a writer with only one flaw: he has nothing to say. Tarantino is like that too.Report