For Austin's hottest DJ 'Jungle Julia ' (Sydney Tamiia Poitier), dusk offers an opportunity to unwind with two of her closest friends, Shanna and Arlene (Jordan Ladd & Vanessa Ferlito). This three-fox posse sets out into the night, turning heads everywhere. However not all of the attention is innocent. Covertly tracking their moves is Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell), a scarred, weathered rebel who leers from behind the wheel of his muscle car. As the girls' night unfolds, Mike's white knuckle ride/weapon revs just feet away....
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Quentin Tarantino is more a brand these days than a filmmaker. Allowed more or less free reign due to his brand standing, he has fallen into the trap of believing his own publicity. His cinema is narrow and self indulgent; it's not free and artistic and rebellious at all. Pumped up on pulp, Tarantino goes to a lot of trouble to supposedly pay homage to the exploitation movies of old, which used left over film stock and carefree splicing to deliver cheap movie thrills to frustrated teenagers on Saturday afternoons. Nothing wrong with that, if it's in context.
With Death Proof, the hard work and extra effort required to make a film look like it was made 50-odd years ago looks plain fake, even if the intention is kinda honourable. The problem for Tarantino in Death Proof is that the girl talk that occupies so much of the running time is anything but true to the culture 50 years ago. The setting is contempo, but the movie style is period. So the clash between content and style is painfully insistent as the film enlists the viewer (or tries to) in a cinematic conspiracy: the raw elements of the story make for exploitative B movie material, but don't look too closely at how it's done.
Performances are terrific, with all the cast giving all they've got, and the stunts are rigorous, with New Zealander Zoe Bell taking line honours with some daredevil work that in itself is admirable - and remarkable. But what for? Technically clever and sometimes gripping, Death Proof is only for the Tarantino cult club.
Email this article
DEATH PROOF (MA)
CAST: Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Rose McGowan, Tracie Thoms, Jordan Ladd, Vanessa Ferlito, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Quentin Tarantino, Marcy Hariell, Eli Roth
PRODUCER: Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Erica Steinberg,
DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino
SCRIPT: Quentin Tarantino
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Quentin Tarantino
EDITOR: Sally Menke
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Steve Joyner
RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 1, 2007
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.