Born March 27, 1963, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Quentin Tarantino is the only American filmmaker (so far) who has devoted himself exclusively to the nature of American violence as filtered through America's media. Essentially a film critic with a camera, Tarantino has positioned himself atop the growing pile of American independent filmmakers who have found success with audiences and critics alike.
After spending many years working in a Los Angeles area video store, and even more years watching and assimilating movies and television into his bloodstream, Tarantino debuted most auspiciously with Reservoir Dogs in 1992. The smart dialogue, precision casting, and iconographic depictions of violence separated this film from the rest of the pack. Hungry for more Tarantino, Hollywood turned two of his scripts—True Romance and Natural Born Killers (which was drastically rewritten)—into high-profile films for which he received as much attention as their respective directors, Tony Scott and Oliver Stone. The release of Pulp Fiction, however, rocketed Tarantino into superstardom. After winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes, Pulp Fiction became a critical favorite (even earning the adoration of those same critics who dismissed Reservoir Dogs as too violent), found a wide audience, revitalized the career of 1970s star John Travolta, and redirected the career of 1980s star Bruce Willis.
The question remains whether or not Tarantino (like Hawks, Kubrick, Godard, or anyone else he's been compared to) can find success outside this particular genre. As with Scorsese, the most unfortunate aspect of Tarantino's success is the plethora of talentless imitators who will follow. “Far from succumbing to easy cynicism, Tarantino achieves the remarkable feat of remaining a genre purist even as his films critique, embarrass, and crossbreed genre” (Gavin Smith, Film Comment, July-August 1994).
Related Credo Articles
Quentin Tarantino is perhaps the most famous and influential figure in the independent film renaissance of the early 1990s; his filmography...
American, born in Knoxville, Tennessee. After working as a video clerk while studying acting, he used the sale of an early screenplay to raise...
1963- ♦ US director and screenwriter He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and spent much of his childhood at the movies, before working in a video st