I think people are getting too worked up about the violent content of
Tarantino's films. There are two things I find most refreshing about
Tarantino's films and neither has much to do with violence:
1) The complete lack of sentimentality. Outside of a doting fondness for the
70's, his films are thankfully devoid of any of the cloying sentimentality
and moralizing that gets shoe-horned into almost every film or television
show in AMerica. WHile I won't say there's anything British about his works,
the attitude in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction is much closer to that
shown in British science-fiction shows like Blake's 7 or even in British
popular fiction with its vastly flawed non-hero heroes. The AMerican
equivalent to the anti-hero has been a predictably childish shoot-em-up
bloodcrazy berserker (look at comic books like Punisher or WOlverine for
examples). Tarantino's non-heroes (not anti-heroes) are more mature -
they're simply out for themselves and they simply deal with whatever
situations come up in life.
2) There is no message. I guess this is similar to what I said above
about no moralizing being forced in. But Tarantino has simply made movies.
That's it. His movies are meant to start at scene 1 and end with the closing
credits. There's no attempt to be 'meaningful' or 'socially responsible'
or to 'deliver a message.' He's just making fun movies. ANd I say, thank
god for that!
Tarantino has, to this date, provided us with the best view of
the meaningless and arbitrary world that we all live in. I think he's
touched the pulse of the 'Letterman generation' which can find humor in
almost anything simply because of the realization that everything is, indeed,
a joke with no meaning beyond that which we decide to give it. I know
I've been waiting for such a level-headed voice in film and I am
certain his acceptance reflects that others have as well and hopefully
means more will be coming along the way. Maybe this means we'll be saved
in the future from sentimental crap like The Wonder Years or Forrest
Gump. I doubt it but maybe there's hope...