Tarantino’s Kill Bill proves that revenge is a trap


Promotional Material Courtesy of: Miramax Films

Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) posing with her sword ready to take revenge.

From lust to wrath, Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 cult classic Kill Bill takes a straightforward path to exposing the dark side of humankind. Not shying away from gore, Tarantino blends nauseating scenes to convey that the all-consuming nature of revenge isn’t worth it.

Kill Bill follows the ex-assassin Beatrix Kiddo – also called “The Bride” (Uma Thurman) – waking from a four-year-long coma. Targeting the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Beatrix throws her humanity to the side for revenge.

As a prior member of the assassination squad, Beatrix’s life under her past alias, Black Mamba, comes back to haunt her. When squad leader, Bill (David Carradine) finds out that Beatrix faked her death to escape his squad, he finds revenge killing those closest to her. After nearly dying from Bill’s attack on her wedding, Beatrix creates a hit list containing five of her ex-partners, searching for solace in revenge.  

Directed by Tarantino, it was a guarantee that the film would take a unique play on multiple styles of filming, and truly resonate in its own category. With frequent cuts, side-by-side frames, vibrant color schemes, and compositions that pull objects to the foreground, Kill Bill meets Tarantino’s standard. 

The film is Tarantino’s skillful portrayal of the message that revenge is a dish best served cold. However, his stylistic choice of repetitive gore shrouded the film. At first, some of the dramatized scenes were captivating. But then they all started to blend together, making some scenes unbearable to watch. Dramatized by these redundancies, the viewer clearly understands that Beatrix would go to any measure to seek revenge for the depth of her wrath. 

Wrath, a pillar of the film, consistently resurfaces. As Beatrix seems to break her ties to humanity, Tarantino tries to convey the shortcomings of revenge. Beatrix goes as far as biting off a piece of O-Ren Ishii’s (Lucy Liu) skull, succumbing to an animalistic state in order to win her mental and physical battle. Appalled, the viewer can only see what revenge looks like when taken too far.   

Rather than coyly playing with his message, Tarantino utilizes his shock factor. Kill Bill starts with Beatrix deep in a coma, as nurses pawn off her body to whoever can afford it. Tarantino manages to show lust’s damaging nature, as people put aside all of their morals to quell their desire. However, the bluntness of the scene proves to only distract the audience, diminishing the impact of Tarantino’s attempt to portray the atrocities of sin. 

For this reason, Kill Bill would not capture the same respect as its initial release in 2003. Even though the film attempts to convey the faults of lust and wrath, Tarantino’s approach is simply too direct. He loses his audience with the monotonous nature of violent scenes. Instead of focusing on meaning, fans become fixated on the gore, leading the irony created around sensitive topics to being misinterpreted. 

For some, these are merely the cons presented as Tarantino concocts an engrossing approach to a basic plot. But for those not in the Tarantino cult, Kill Bill proves to be nearly impossible to sit through without becoming nauseated. For these reasons, Kill Bill receives three out of five feathers.