Short of the Week: How Quentin Tarantino Uses Violence

By Mike Vernier

 

WARNING: The video features unedited clips with violence and mature language.

 

The way that Quentin Tarantino manipulates time in his films is something many truly admire, but his films have also garnered attention for their gore and brutality. He has drawn criticism for this throughout his career, so the position that this short’s creator, Julian Palmer, takes on Tarantino’s use of violence is intriguing (click picture to watch How Quentin Tarantino Uses Violence).

Palmer analyzes scenes from various famous Tarantino films and shows how violence is not necessarily used as a “gross-out” tactic, but more-so as a plot device. Each example he gives has its own purpose in the context of the film.

Reservoir Dogs is the perfect showcase. The famous scene of Mr. Blonde torturing the cop is masterfully picked apart by Palmer, who illustrates how the tension skyrockets simply from having a wildcard (Mr. Blonde) in the picture. The song playing in the background is happy, meant to make us tap our toes while still dreading what Blonde is going to do. The camera pans off and looks away, just like the audience wants to, and we temporarily feel safe. But suddenly, our serenity is violated by Blonde holding the ear. This personification of the camera adds an appreciation for the way Tarantino is able to manipulate the audience. Palmer continues to narrate and walk us through the scene, explaining the emotions we’re supposed to feel and how the violence pertains to those emotions.

Palmer’s expertise in the area is further illustrated by his analysis of the introduction to Calvin Candie in Django Unchained. He explains that violence is used to influence our first opinion of the villain and his disgustingly joyful reaction to the violence he’s incited.

 

Mr. Palmer’s insight into how violence works within film plots is a must-see. Students and fans of films will appreciate the depth with which he examines famous scenes from such an influential director.