"Kill Bill Vol 1" (2003)

Rating: R:18
Genre: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino
In Theatres: Oct 10th, 2003
Runtime: 111 minutes
Studio: Miramax Films

A former assassin, known simply as The Bride (Uma Thurman), wakes from a coma four years after her jealous ex-lover Bill (David Carradine) attempts to murder her on her wedding day. Fuelled by an insatiable desire for revenge, she vows to get even with every person who contributed to the loss of her unborn child, her entire wedding party, and four years of her life. After devising a hit list, The Bride sets off on her quest, enduring unspeakable injury and unscrupulous enemies.

We watched a scene from this in college recently. I’d heard a lot about it but never watched it so my curiosity was peaked enough to give it a go. And as revenge stories go, this is a good one.

Well we are left with no uncertainty as to what to expect from this film following the opening scene. Uma Thurman is bloody, vulnerable and pretty much on death’s door. Thus, setting up our sympathy towards her character, who we’ll be with for the rest of the film. Considering what she does in just the next scene, this is very necessary. The fact that it’s in black and white adds to the  tone. 

It’s a serious film…but it’s also a Quentin Tarantino film so you can expect subtle humour thrown in there too. And violence. Lots and lots of bloody sword-fighting and karate fuelled violence. Word of warning – as the title suggests, this is not for the faint hearted! I had to look away on several occasions – but that’s part of the...fun, right!? The sharp dialogue, narration from Uma Thurman, neat structure and quick pace keeps you alert and in it for the long haul. It’s got an almost cartoonish feel to it (even including a comic-strip sequence…because, why not?) I really liked the production design and I think this also added to the feel of the film. The colours were bold and very striking, particularly in the second scene of the film, although they calm down as the film goes on. The story also jumps back and forth through time – another of Tarantino’s trademarks it would seem – and another way of keeping the audience on their toes.

One of the best scenes of the film was the coma scene in which Uma Thurman is lying in a hospital bed, we hear an ominous whistling, as one of the notorious “Bill”’s assassins dressed up as a nurse is preparing an injection, presumably to assassinate Uma Thurman. This is the one we watched in college for its editing, and for this reason, it is my favourite. It has an excellent use of split screen, great tension, extremely well-choreographed. 

I enjoyed the soundtrack. Much of them are quite lackadaisical sounding I think, which is ironic given the subject matter! But it works! I smiled to hear James Last’s “The Lonely Shepherd”…I like that song… And then in other moments it was used to aid the humour. 

Uma Thurman is fantastic. This is definitely one of her better roles.

“Pulp Fiction” will always be, in my eyes at least, the best of Quentin Tarantino’s impressive filmography but “Kill Bill” is pretty high up there too.