Quick! What are some of the names that pop into your head when you hear me say, “An amazing film director”? If any of the names that flashed across your mind’s eye contained the words, “Bay” “Perry” or “M. Night Shamalamadadingdong,” then you should probably be on another site reading a different article. Now instead, if you had words like “Kubrick” “Hitchcock” “Scorsese” and “Coppola” shining through, then you may carry on reading. Of the two groups of names mentioned above, there’s really no question which one stands above the other. They’re not really even in the same dimension, if we’re being honest. I mean, one group brought us riveting classics that include: a franchise which is pretty much one big explosion, a never ending nightmare of rom coms, and a movie about trees killing people with the wind.
Make no mistake though, each of those directors still have one or two films under their belt that you simply can’t dismiss (except you Tyler Perry.) The ending to Armageddon still makes me ball like a baby and I haven’t gotten over the shock of the end of The Sixth Sense. Now let us take a look though at the latter group. Collectively, they’ve bestowed upon us masterpieces such as The Shining, Psycho, Goodfellas and The Godfather. Those titles are forever cemented in history as some of the best films ever created and so much of that success can be attributed to their respective directors. After all, it’s the director who truly makes the entire movie come to life. Ahhhh yes, I can already hear the protests, “But what about the actors?? Surely the characters that they bring to life on screen are what truly make the entire movie what it is!” Well, to that I politely request that you please sit back down.
The director is the storyteller, using the actors to convey the scenes that unfold in their minds.
A good director can tell the story. A phenomenal director, though, can engross you with that story and make you feel as though you are a part of it. Like you’ve been melted down, put into a syringe and injected straight into their imagination. The four directors I named above can indeed do just that and are without a doubt masters of their craft. HOWEVER, I think there is one director who takes it to an entirely different plane. He’s directed two mind blowing movies in the last six years and with his eighth film set to be released in December, I will go on record to say:
As his career nears its end, Quentin Tarantino has set himself up to be a contender for the greatest director of all time.
Whew. There, I said it! Now I know that’s a huge claim to make, but hear me out for just a sec. First off, I don’t think there’s a person alive who would disagree that Tarantino isn’t at least one of the greatest. With his unconventional nonlinear style of storytelling, consistent use of anti hero character dynamics and the always appreciated buckets of blood, there’s no denying he has serious skills as a filmmaker. Not to mention he can boast an impressive average film rating of 88% on the be-all-end-all movie authority, Rotten Tomatoes. But even so, I think that there is one thing Quentin Tarantino brings to the table that elevates him above all others: dialogue.
The dialogue that you will find in a Quentin Tarantino film is going to be second to none. From Reservoir Dogs to Django Unchained, the caliber of this man’s on-screen diction is something I always find a wonder to behold. I mean, take this classic (and one of my favorite) scene from Pulp Fiction. Or this scene from Inglorious Basterds, where one of the best movie villains ever (which is another article for another time) is effortlessly toying with Brad Pitt and company’s intelligence. And this is where I really think the magic of Tarantino’s dialogue comes into play. The beauty of it, is in its subtlety.
Take for instance that Inglorious Basterds scene you just watched. And if you didn’t watch it, you better go change that right now! On the surface it seems pretty simple; Hans Landa, resident SS Superjewhunter, has confronted The Basterds (who are pretending to be Italian camera men) and their secret agent actress friend at a movie premier, where they’re trying to assassinate Hitler. But rather than have them all promptly detained and executed, he tells no other officers of their plan and instead goes over and proceeds to screw with them. The whole time Landa knows exactly who they all really are, yet he still decides to have some fun by speaking fluent Italian to the very obvious non-Italians and even getting them to attempt to speak Italian back. The whole brilliant exchange just exemplifies the Hans Landa character tenfold and clearly allows you a glimpse into the mind of this sadistic, intimidating and rather bizarre character.
That’s the thing about Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue: It doesn’t matter whether it’s Harvey Keitel simply telling Tim Roth to cut off a bank manager’s pinky as a means to get information, before nonchalantly suggesting they go for a taco, or if it’s the late great David Carradine letting Uma Thurman bluntly know exactly what he thinks of her. The dialogue in a Tarantino film is portrayed in such a way that it truly allows you to have that unprecedented access into the minds of the film’s characters, which in turn allows you to be transported into Tarantino’s own little personal slice of Heaven. Or Hell. However you choose to view it, I suppose.
With box office hit after hit, there’s really no way to deny that Quentin Tarantino is one of the best and most distinct directors to have graced this planet. Now, three years after the success of Django Unchained, he unleashes another spaghetti western on us with The Hateful Eight, including a cast full of Tarantino regulars including Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth. I’ll be one of the first people with my butt in that theater chair, eyes glued to the screen, waiting to see what new experience Quentin Tarantino has prepared for me.
What do you guys think about Tarantino’s director status? All time great, or not quite at that level? Let’s start a discussion in the comments!
Author: Nikola Banovich
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