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(Review originally written at 10 January 2007)

This movie is a visual experience of different styles, all combined with also some trademark Tarantino elements.

The movie is obviously a case of style over substance. In essence the movie is just a basic revenge flick without too much depth or meaning. This however is exactly like how Tarantino intended it to be. "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" is simple, straightforward, completely over-the-top but above all beautifully shot and superbly directed. The movie its story comes totally secondary, as Tarantino used this movie as an experimental tool to mix several, mostly Asian cinema, styles together and blend it into one big visual experience of violence and unusual over-the-top looking sequences. His aim was style and with that this movie most certainly does not disappoint.

Always when looking at a Tarantino movie, it becomes obviously that he's a big movie buff and movie lover. Tarantino really shows his love for- and pays homage to Asian cinema and especially anime. Most notably of course in the animated segment (that is great by the way) but also in almost every action/fight sequence in the movie and its violence. It gives the movie its own unique style and an overall atmosphere of 'coolness'.

The violence is definitely brutal and straightforward, as gallons of blood are spilled in this movie. But all of the violence is done in such a, deliberately, over-the-top and fake looking way, that it becomes entertaining, rather than shocking or stomach turning. It even becomes poetically beautiful to watch at times. The action sequences are definitely the best parts of the movie and they are well choreographed and shot. When things get too graphic the movie simple conveniently switches to black & white or turns to other creative cinematic solutions.

The power of this movie is definitely in its visual style and overall style of directing. The movie uses different themes throughout the movie but yet the movie manages to create one big unique identity. The movie never feels incoherent or disjointed in its style or storytelling, though it all widely differs from each other at times. I think that this is mainly thanks to Tarantino's directing, who keeps the movie and different styles all on one and the same line. Visually the movie is also definitely helped by Robert Richardson fantastic cinematography, who should at least had been rewarded with an Oscar nomination for it.

The movie is filled with some big name actors, though not all play a significant part in the movie yet (see "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" for that). Uma Thurman is truly superb as the Bride and I can honestly say that this is her best role out of her career. She also was rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination for it. Also really superb in her role was Lucy Liu. Again, also her best role yet.

Not of all the trademark Tarantino elements work out well in the movie I definitely missed the typical trademark Tarantino dialog in this movie and for also for most part the trademark non-linear storytelling felled pointless and didn't really served a purpose for the story. It therefor really isn't Tarantino's best but it's definitely his most experimental and most visually orientated, style-full, splendid movie.

Unusual, over-the-top but strangely intriguing, entertaining and overall brilliant. Yet another Tarantino must-see!

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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