Kill Bill Vol 1 is the fourth film directed by Quentin Tarantino, and is the first part of a two-part film. After the success of Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman returns as the Bride, the lead character in the film. Four years after an assassination squad attempts to murder her and her unborn child, the Bride creates a death list to go after them all, with this first part focusing on Japanese assassin O-Ren Ishii and with a goal of reaching her ex-lover, Bill.
We all knew this from Pulp Fiction, but Uma Thurman is just so captivating to watch. It is even more pleasing to watch as she now has a large majority of the screen time here, with the narrative completely focusing on her story. There is simply nobody else that can play the Bride, this is just one of those perfect casting choices. You felt her character’s trauma, her struggles, but also her attitude and her bad-ass actions. She made the character flawed and damaged, but also strong and powerful.
Every single visual choice made in this film was stunning. From costume design, production design, make-up and visual techniques, this film is incredibly pleasing to the eye. I was shocked to see that there was an entire ten-minute animated sequence telling the story of O-Ren Ishii’s background, but I absolutely adored the animation style they used. It wass so captivating, and I never wanted to pull my eyes away from the screen.
This film had exactly what I want from a Quentin Tarantino film: violence, and a lot of it. The choreography for this violence was so well done, particularly in the last third of this film. The violence was not only dramatic and bold, but looked brilliant. What I also appreciate is that the sequences weren’t overly edited, so I could actually clearly see the fight sequences.
Each character in this narrative not only has clear characterisation, but also feel like real people. Even if they are all somehow masters of weapons and assassins, I still felt humane attributes to them, from the way they emphasise with other people to the traumas they all had to deal with. Their personalities are distinctive and fun to watch, and I ended up liking the development of every main character and the dialogues that they have.
This film is oozing of stylistic choices, from the chapter editing style to the constant back and forth narrative style that Tarantino loves. However, this is the best he has ever done it. In this film, I completely understand why Tarantino has chosen each separate time jump to still tell a coherent story. The chapter styles make this choice even more clear and easier to follow overall.
This to me is the ultimate Tarantino, and I would have a hard time imagining any film beating this out as my favourite from the director. This is fun in it’s purest form, and also the best in terms of style, story and characterisation. I seriously hope that Kill Bill Vol 2 can live up to this expectation, because I want a great end to this spectacle of a film.
Have you seen Kill Bill Vol 1 yet? Did you enjoy it just as much as I did, or did it go a little bit too far for you? Let me know in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.