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Kill Bill: Vol. 1

In the year 2003, Uma Thurman will kill Bill  

Year: 2003 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Quentin Tarantino 
Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah  
An image from Kill Bill: Vol. 1

One of today's cinema masters strikes again offering us the first of two great films. If you missed Tarantino after "Jackie Brown" then "Kill Bill" is for you! Action, fun and an awesome soundtrack (Johnny Cash, Nancy Sinatra...), which are Tarantino's signatures are back in a delightful combination...

Beatrix Kiddo a.k.a. "the Bride" is part of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad led by the man she loves, Bill. Discovering she is pregnant with his child she decides to give up her life as a killer . She builds up a new "normal" life in Texas where she changes her identity and meets a man who she is going to marry. Simple life, simple place, simple wedding...Everything seems to be going well. But nobody can suspect that the quiet ceremony is going to turn into a massacre. Indeed the members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad burst into the chapel and kill everyone present at the ceremony, from the groom to the pianist. The Bride is shot in the head by the furious Bill and left for dead...

After a four-year long coma, the Bride wakes up. She remembers everything and realises that she has lost her unborn child. From then on she has one single idea on her mind: take revenge on the people who ruined her life. This is the beginning of an adventure that will take the Bride from the USA to Japan in search of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad members, killing them one by one till she can find her final prey: Bill. This will not be an easy task for her enemies are all but weak...

Maud Verdeguer

Four years ago The Bride (Thurman) watched her wedding party die and was mistakenly left for dead by her former colleagues, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Now, she has woken from her coma and is out for revenge. Her mission: to Kill Bill. It is difficult to find the words that will give justice to this film. Violent, sick, twisted, clever, funny and meticulous are only a few of the words that can be inserted here. Probably the most suitable: flawless.

The film runs in chapters, narrated by Thurman and aided by flashbacks. The acting is superb; Thurman carries the film through with honesty, empathy and grace. Dreyfus is particularly mesmeric and Hannah’s entrance leaves us wanting more; her big scenes yet to come in the next instalment. The soundtrack matches perfectly the emotive experience that is being shared by characters and audience alike; Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang’ will never be viewed in the same way again.

What really makes Kill Bill a masterpiece is Tarantino’s creativeness. Set in his own alternate universe, he handles the violence as mindless so that we can distance ourselves from Thurman’s actions yet still sympathise and want her to succeed. The choreography and direction of the fight scenes as well as others, specifically the kitchen scene at the start of the film, show why this film has taken so long to be produced. The sound is just as essential as the visual imagery and the final fight in the snow (the water feature in the foreground setting the tempo) has to be seen to be believed.

As Tarantino himself believes, this film is like a greatest hits album, encompassing all that is great about his previous works into one film. The only problem with this analogy, is that just like a ‘best of’ album, missing is the pulp (sorry); the pieces that hold the rest together and allow continuity. Here, it is the lack of dialogue, and although there are some fantastic lines, it does not compare to previous works, although it should be noted that the core has been held back for Volume Two.

If you haven’t seen any of Tarantino’s previous works (and you really should), this is a fantastic chance to see the auteur at his best. Regardless if it is the first time or the sixteenth you see it, this film will never cease to interest, impress and amaze. And with the shock ending, now is the time to view the first volume in time for the concluding part’s release in February.

(Kill) Phil Lurie

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Spring Term (35mm)
2008/2009 Spring Term (35mm)
2021/2022 Spring Term (35mm)