Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Movie Review: Dusk Till Dawn AKA on Cinematic Facsimile

I had an eventful December (Christmas can eat a...) Since I had some time off I did the movie marathon thing. Wolf of Wall Street and Django Unchained have been on my list for a while. But in their own way both of those require some homework to really give them the once over they deserve. Wolf of Wall Street basically exists as Scorsese on autopilot. Which isn't to say it's bad. The movie is great but to really sink my teeth in I need to view it within the context of Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed, and Taxi Driver, but  I've only seen half of that list.

And as for Django,  It's a Quentin Tarantino movie even if the movie itself didn't expect me to watch the 100 or so movies it's riffing, this far after it's release I would feel like a jackass if I didn't at least pay lip service to the other big slavery movie of 2013.

Eh. It's on my list.

Anyway Django really is a great movie and made me want to review the Tarantino oeuvre.

That plan went bust I'll explain later.

Time to lay some movie history on you.  Tarantino is hailed as one of the big three indie directors of the early 90's along with Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith. What made almost all of these guys interesting is the same thing that made the blockbuster kings of the last generation so interesting.

They were able to somehow manage to combine a sincere love of the trashy low art of thier youth, in this case the grindhouse drivein scene of the late 60's and 70's with incredible structural and scripting chops.

While the blockbuster kings of the 1970's were out to prove yes you can make a pulpy space opera, monster movie, or gangster movie epic and meaningful these guys were much more willing to revel in the "trash" themselves. They didn't feel the need to show the world the beauty in say a heist gone wrong flick because well been there done that.  In other words Lucas and Spielberg try much harder to justify the B movie elements in their movies while this new crop were much more satisfied to say, "this is the type of movie you walked in to. You want to get this shindig rolling or don't you."

To be perfectly honest From Dusk Till Dawn is pretty much a modern B movie, but what makes it interesting is what's going on under the hood especially within the context of what we know now about the guys at the helm.

Dusk Till Dawn having been written by a young Tarantino and directed by a young Rodriguez acts as a rosetta stone to both these guys' styles of movie making.  I spent so much time talking about that 90's crew is because right now, they are the best in the business at shooting "fun" movies at least the big name ones. Rodriguez in particular is a master at shooting over the top, "because movie" action scenes.

And part of that is because most of the 90's movie brats loved the facsimile or movieness of film. And I suppose if thier movies had any sort of consistent point to be made that would be it. Contrary to popular belief about things like "realism" and "suspension of disbelief" there is a power nay an importance to that facsimile of film and it should be celebrated rather than restrained and denied.

It's been what? 20 years so fuck spoilers.

The movie basically exists to have fun with old movie genres and recreate in its audience and let's be honest its crew the feeling of a night out at the grindhouse,  at first playing like a tribute to Bonnie and Clyde, then morphing into a Sam Raimi picture.  And then switching gears to Romero rules with a dash of John Carpenter thrown in for good measure.

This movie is basically both men's love letter to the movies of thier youth and really once you think about aren't all thier movies love letters to film itself.

The reason why I didn't just go a head with the Tarantino plan is that I got sidelined with this flick I wanted more and so I binged on the Tv show just before getting knocked out by the microbial menace and having fever dreams of being eaten alive by snake people.

P.S. I might as well cop to this I borrowed a lot of these ideas from Movie Bob's Hollywood History series check it out.

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