QUENTIN TARANTINO: The Man and His Movies by Jami Bernard

QUENTIN TARANTINO: The Man and His Movies

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A premature biography, shallow and uninspired. Quentin Tarantino might be a talented filmmaker. He has written a few well-received scripts and directed two clever though overhyped films--Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction--but he has nothing approaching an oeuvre to his name. His career is still inchoate, even fetal, and the history of Hollywood is heavy with talents that quickly crashed and burned, sometimes justly, sometimes not. Bernard may be a movie critic for New York's Daily News, but she writes like an amateur gossip columnist. Despite a palsy-walsy ""Quentin"" tone, she wallows in trivial scandal, chronicling Tarantino's every spat and unkindness as he climbed the greasy pole of success from video-store clerk to film director. In Bernard's portrait he emerges as an ego-driven ingrate, breaking promises, betraying friends, all of which, of course, have almost nothing to do with his talent. More usefully, Bernard illuminates Tarantino's substantial ""borrowings."" In a manner that transcends mere postmodern art-about-art, Tarantino's work is fundamentally rooted in and derived from other films. Sometimes it is just a gesture here, a line there. And then there is Reservoir Dogs, for example, a great deal of which is ""inspired"" by a Hong Kong action movie, City on Fire. As T.S. Eliot once wrote, ""Minor poets borrow. Great poets steal."" Where Tarantino fits in this formulation is far from certain yet. Patience is its own reward. Perhaps Tarantino will one day merit a biography; it certainly won't be this one.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0060951613
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: HarperCollins