“When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.’” – Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino, unapologetic and unabashed, quirky and controversial, is not only one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema but also an auteur with unique and audacious directorial skills. Now a phenomenon, Tarantino’s oeuvre is a favourite subject among cinephiles; the quintessential elements that are distinguishable and ubiquitous in almost all his movies have led to the coinage of the term Tarantinoesque. Recently added to Wiktionary, Tarantinoesque is an adjective, defined as “reminiscent of the works or themes of Quentin Tarantino, an American film director and actor, best known for violent yet humorous films with nonlinear plots.”
With his ingenious ideas and nuanced story-telling, accentuated by soundtracks, violence and gore, pushes Tarantino’s films up the literary pedestal. In an interview, he once revealed: “[My] head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behaviour, people tell me a joke and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life and I remember it. When I go and write my new characters, my pen is like an antenna, it gets that information, and all of a sudden these characters come out more or less fully formed. I don’t write their dialogue, I get them talking to each other.”
Tarantino could be considered a revolution who altered the cinema-scape of Hollywood with his 1994 film Pulp Fiction, a picture in which he transcends the conventional storytelling structure. He became a household name overnight and inspiration to filmmakers all over the world. He continues to inspire generations; films inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s movies are now called ‘Taraninoesque’.
What makes a film Tarantinoesque? No, you are probably wrong. It is not Uma Thurman’s foot. Instead, eloquent dialogue with angry expletives, shocking yet poetic violence and gore, scintillating and well-arranged music, non-linear plots that experiment with time, and genre subversion are some of the most discernible elements noticed in a Tarantino movie. As he said, “Violence is one of the most fun things to watch”.
Tarantino loves subverting expectations as well; this brilliant and eccentric auteur, till date, has made only nine films and has declared to step back from directing after his tenth one. According to him, he hopes to crystallize his cinematic legacy of ten films that will be the subject of debate forever. “I see myself writing film books and starting to write theatre, so I’ll still be creative. I just think I’ve given all I have to give to movies.”
His ninth film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is somewhat a perfect ending to his outstanding career, a perfect ode to the Hollywood he so loved and derived inspiration from. Fans are indeed waiting anxiously for his tenth and final film before the 56-year-old auteur retires; they certainly don’t want Tarantino’s o-screen magic to end, neither do we. While fans brood over his decision, here are five films that will quench their thirst for Tarantinoesque films, because let’s face it, Tarantino films may come to an end but Tarantinoesque never will.
Let’s take a look at five films on Netflix all Quentin Tarantino fans would love to watch.
Five films all Tarantino fans need to see:
5. Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999)
“This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.”
The narrator is depressed and suffering from insomnia when he meets soap salesman Tyler Durden onboard an aeroplane. After his apartment gets destroyed in an explosion, the Narrator moves into Durden’s dilapidated, grubby house. Together, they form an underground club, Fight Club, where men, frustrated with their mundane lives, come to fight. However, this camaraderie starts to fade once Marla struts into their lives and catches Tyler’s attention.
Fight Club is wild, violent, provocative and unsettling. A vivid narrative and well-paced storyline, Fincher is at the top of his game. The dialogues are witty, sharp and memorable. A bold critique of the consumer-driven society, Fight Club explores other important and interesting themes like castration, anarchy and the desire to subvert social morality and it scandalously suggests that violence is an escape route for people’s frustration. Macho and brash, Tyler’s misogynistic character is in direct contrast with the Narrator’s sensitive and passive nature. Tyler taunts the Narrator of being castrated by saying: ‘I am free in all the ways that you are not”. Aggressive and frenzied, as the narrative oscillates between events, Fight Club, a brutal satire, not only entertains but also enlightens.
4. Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999)
“Only pain and suffering will make you realise who you are.”
The film begins with a middle-aged widower, Shigeharu Aoyama, looking to date women once again. Urged by his friend and film producer, Yoshikawa, they set up a fake casting audition for women to star in an alleged film as Aoyama’s wife. Aoyama meets the mysterious and attractive Asami Yamazaki; despite her having a murky and misleading resume, Aoyama pays no attention to his friend’s warnings as he begins pursuing her. As soon as he pledges his love, sinister events begin to unfold that Aoyama immediately regrets.
Asami is the archetypal femme fatale who remains secretive about her background. In a flurry of motions, as Asami’s past comes to light, it is evident that her being sexually abused led to her distrust towards men. The film, with its jarring edits and hurried movement, is quite creepy and disturbing. Asami and Aoyama’s relationship subverts power dynamics. Initially, Aoyama tries to gain control by on the prospective dates by making them audition for the ‘part’. Asami’s gruesome and repulsive scene with her ex-boyfriend, and later with Aoyama shows how she takes control of the situation (her ex-boyfriend can no longer talk or speak; his existence depends on her regurgitated puke). Asami is lonely and she fills in the void by attacking men who do not love her completely.
High on violence, gore and shock-value, Audition will be thoroughly enjoyed by Tarantino fans.
3. No Country For Old Men (Coen brothers, 2007)
“ What you got ain’t nothing new. This country is hard on people. You can’t stop what’s comin’. Ain’t all waitin’ on you. That’s vanity.”
No Country For Old Men is one of the Coen Brothers’ darkest works. Set in arid Texas, the plot revolves around a poor man, Llewlyn Moss, who comes across a drug deal gone wrong in the middle of the desert while hunting. He tries to pocket the $2 million in the briefcase. A notorious hitman, Anton Chigurh, is hired to bring back the money, and he begins pursuing Moss. Sheriff Ed Tom Bell who is aware of Chigurh’s ruthless murder trail attempts to intercede.
Violent and brutal, the film boasts of enviable dialogues, cinematography and music. The latter, especially, adds a sense of beauty and isolation to the film. Comprising elements of thriller and chase, it is exhilarating, to say the least. Chigurh is ruthless and evil, his cruelty is beyond comprehension. However, he is quite funny at times. The in-depth character study makes the film reek heavily of Tarantino. Just like Cormac McCarthy’s novel, the setting of the film is quite dark and ominously predicts descent into anarchy with the annihilation of boundaries and norms. Brutal with elements of noir and, at times, comedic, this film boasts of phenomenal performance, and will most certainly be a cinematic delight for Tarantino fans.
2. Battle Royale (Kinji Fukasaku, 2000)
“Life is a game. So fight for survival, and find out if you’re worth it.”
Set in a totalitarian Japan, reeling from a major recession, a bizarre social experiment is conducted under the ‘BR Act’ “to curb the nation’s juvenile delinquency”. Middle-schoolers are taken to a remote island to participate in the annual Battle Royale, which is a fight for survival. With detonating collars being set off due to minor disobedience or psychotic murders, the children are forced to fight till death, battling personal demons, shifting loyalties and the plethora of obstacles that lie in their path.
Praised by Quentin Tarantino, who said it was the best film he had seen in the last two decades, Battle Royale is a must-watch for die-hard Tarantino fans. While the film has been criticised for being an “unnecessary gore fest”, the film is praised for being a heightened and melodramatic representation of teenage conflict. The maestro of mayhem, Kenji Fukasaku is the Japanese Tarantino; bold, outrageous and insolent.
Having been rated R15+ at the time of release in Japan, it was enough warning to let people know of the gore and brutality that unfolds in the film. The film is provocative and sometimes disturbing to watch, with underlying principles of discipline, teamwork and morality coming into play. Compared to the shocking violence portrayed in Staley Kubrick’s A ClockworkOrange, Fukasaku’s Battle Royale contains “some of the most startling scenes of mayhem since the movies of the wild and bloody ‘70s.”
1. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
“You talkin’ to me?”
Travis Bickle, Vietnam War veteran and now, a taxi driver, leads a lonely and depressing life in the morally bankrupt New York City. He is infatuated with a campaign volunteer named Betsy. Disgusted and appalled by the degradation of New York City, plagued by forced prostitution, corruption and dysfunction, Travis’ descent into madness and frenzy motivated by violence, causes him to be obsessed with the assassination of the Presidential candidate as well as the man who pimps out Idris, an underage prostitute and his friend.
Scorsese is at his best in this riveting film. Brutal violence and jarring characters add to the dysfunctional atmosphere of the film. Robert DeNiro delivers an outstanding and memorable performance as the angst-ridden Travis Bickles who embarks on a carnage. He is relatable when he says “I got some bad ideas in my head”, yet unfamiliar when his hands are soaked in blood. Travis attempts to be the “real rain” that will “wash away all this scum off the streets.”
Wonderful cinematography and intense dialogues coupled with powerful performances make Taxi Driver a brilliant yet nightmarish masterpiece, which will surely quench the thirst for madness and violence in the minds of Tarantino fans.