Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Freeze Frame #37: Kill Bill Vol. 2

The thing that stands out for me in all of Kill Bill is the dialogue. Not the spectacular geysers of blood in the first volume, or even the brilliant segment with Pei Mei in the second. Which is why I found it immensely satisfying when the final confrontation with Bill was mostly just the two of them talking. David Carradine gives what is probably the performance of his lifetime. I personally felt he deserved an Oscar nod for this one.

I loved the background music that played during Bill's farewell. And their parting exchange: "How do I look?" "You look ready." And, of course, the brilliant monologue about Superman.

But my favourite moment in that entire sequence comes when Bill explains that, having found her getting married to some nobody in the middle of nowhere, he overreacted. Beatrix listens to this and replies, incredulously, "You overreacted?" Fair question to ask, considering Bill & Co basically wiped out the entire marriage party.

But here's what struck me: she's leaning back in her chair when he's talking, and when he says that he overeacted, she straightens up. Not in one movement, as people usually would, but in steps. She straightens up a bit, then stops, then a bit more, then stops, then a bit more before she responds. It's a very deliberate movement.

The thing is, Tarantino basically slows things down in that whole sequence. With every other major character, the confrontation has involved some degree of violence, so you half expect a bloodbath in the end. Instead, you get dialogue, and lots of it. It's delayed gratification of the highest degree. The way she straightens up is a perfect example.

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