Quick-Thoughts: Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (2007)

Tarantino Marathon Part VI of IX, 2nd Viewing 

So, tell me again why Rob Zombie didn’t make Werewolf Women of the SS?

Death Proof: the ultimate “watching movies in the theater on a film projector is the ONLY real way to watch movies” starter-pack. Observe: there’s tons of intentional film grain (lines, dots, and marks), occasional reel pauses, LOTS of horny shots of sassy women, missing reel clips, gore-chugging violence, and a surplus of commercials fitted in to complete the “old-age” style. This is a grind-house picture, you hear! We’re just takin’ it in for the “fun?”

Whether this is your kind of thing or not, I get it! For me personally though, Death Proof strikes right in the middle; it has its iconic, jaw-dropping moments, but it also appears as the retro, throwaway motion picture that it conflictingly tries to mimic. If there’s something about Quentin Tarantino that puts him above the map compared to many other filmmakers, besides his hot-and-heavy style, it’s the innovative narratives that he paints. These accounts often appropriately call back to some of the characteristics in past cinema while still openly adding many plot elements that we haven’t witnessed before. This is what makes Tarantino so beloved; it’s his blend of originality and his blend of familiarity.

Death Proof seems almost purely like familiarity. Any scene that could appear individualistic actually comes off like a parody of Tarantino himself due to how underwritten and rushed the script feels. In some regards, Kurt Russell’s deranged character had the potential to become a wonderful exploration of a villain. Yet, his arc stretches no further than the arbitrary nature of his mask, and on top of that, every other individual in the motion picture is left to rot as these narrowly constructed personas. This is Tarantino attempting to make an exclusively “shock-value” movie that tributes to the old-fashioned, high-octane style of filmmaking, and while the exploitation may work in the regards of what made that genre occasionally exhilarating, it also fails in the regards of what made that gratuitous and shiftless style of moviemaking decline in the first place. 

To me, Tarantino sacrifices his distinct manner of narrative filmmaking and furthermore his likable individuality in Death Proof to spit out something that feels like it could’ve nearly been made by any other b-rated grind-house director from the past. The movie does get better entertainment-wise when the tables begin to turn in terms of who becomes the victim and who becomes the predator, but everything beforehand is so mediocre that it’s difficult for me to consider Death Proof a “fresh” output by Quentin Tarantino.

I do agree though with this, howbeit: the final car driving sequence is somewhat worth the watch alone. Zoë Bell is so incredible! Give this woman some credit! So, lesson learned fellas: just watch the last twenty minutes of Death Proof and you’re rockin’! 

Verdict Change: B- > C+

Quentin Tarantino Ranked

“Death Proof” is now available to stream on iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, and Philo.

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