A Guide to Tarantino

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INTRO
He is one of the great talents of his generation. A visionary who is willing to take big risks and has thus far garnered big rewards. Quentin Tarantino has developed a unique humorous, violent, and cutting edge style of filmmaking. In his screenplays, he writes quick dialogue exchanges that often seem meaningless to help the audience get to know his characters and this technique allows Tarantino to change the pace of his films very rapidly. Changing perspective and mixing discourse time has also become a trademark of Tarantino. Where lesser directors use shifting perspectives and time to cover the holes in a plot or to make a mediocre movie seem weightier or more cutting-edge, Tarantino ‘s playful manipulations of narrative and time have been compared to a breath of cinematic fresh air (Jeff Maguire Interview, 12/9/12). This freshness on screen is the result of Tarantino’s novelistic style of narrative in his screenplays. He breaks up the parts of his story into chapters in order to allow the audience to prepare for a new development of character and narrative. Using all of these components, Quentin Tarantino’s screenplays and films function more like novels in their complexity. His unique and original method of storytelling has garnered him a lot of success and fame, and has elevated him to being one of the best in the business. Style

Quentin Tarantino’s style is unlike any that people had really seen before. “Reservoir Dogs is constructed like a puzzle,” writes Peary. “ In fact, it’s more like a novel in the way it’s put together: no flashbacks, just chapters” (Peary, 7). Pulp Fiction employs that same style and brings it to greater prominence and complexity. While the story is disjointed in it’s composition, it is well organized and makes sense. Much like novels use chapter titles, Tarantino uses title cards as markers for a shift in story or time. In Reservoir Dogs they mark character pieces or stories that the characters tell. In Pulp Fiction these titles mark temporal jumps forward, backwards, or sideways. Watching these jumps, people may call them flash-forwards or flashbacks. However the difference between a typical flashback and Tarantino’s time shifts is that flashbacks are from a personal perspective and his chronology jumping stems from the narratives perspective (Dawson, 70). Another trademark of Tarantino’s style is his unique way with dialogue. While a great deal of it seems meaningless, he writes it to reveal traits of his characters. His authorship is quite obvious in the dialogue he writes. As a pop culture fiend and self-proclaimed movie nerd, he finds no trouble dropping time appropriate references from a wide range of cultural sources into the dialogue of all of his characters. The pop culture references help the audience identify with the characters because they feel that they can establish a connection through knowledge of culture. Keeping the dialogue quick and humorous ensures that these references and conversations avoid becoming droll and create an intimacy with the characters. Intimacy with characters and the structure of Tarantino’s stories are the novelistic qualities of Tarantino’s screenplays. Reservoir Dogs

Reservoir Dogs was Tarantino’s first film that gained him any notoriety and, according to sources, was his first movie that he ever directed. In this heist film in which the heist is never shown, something goes terribly wrong. The movie takes place mostly at the rendezvous point, a run down warehouse, where four of the six criminals meet. The story time is only about an hour, taking place solely in the warehouse, but there are three long vignettes that disrupt the discourse time and function as character studies. While the vignettes could be referred to as flashbacks, Tarantino prefers the term “chapters” because he views the structure as a novel (Peary, Brunette, 30). A novel’s structure is similar to a puzzle; pieces of information are dropped in as necessary and sometimes...
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