CHINATOWN VERSUS QT

I saw C4′s Guru-Murthy taking several broadsides from Tarantino in an interview about Django Unchained last night. Why on earth ask someone like Tarantino such ridiculous questions about the connection of movie violence to real life killing? He is the master of hyper cartoon violence. Violence so violent it becomes supra-violence. Like his characters and dialogue Tarantino operates in a fantasy world several removes from anything that could be called remotely real. So why ask him about real life? He hasn’t a clue what that is. Before he became a world famous director he was a video shop clerk who sat in the dark and watched movies for 20 hours a day. Then he started making them. I can’t think of anybody less able to offer any insight on real life violence than QT. It made for an exasperatingly boring interview.

I saw Chinatown on the big screen at the Curzon Soho for the first time last week. Now that’s an interesting movie about violence. There’s hardly any and yet the few moments of it are memorable not least because the first results in Jack Nicholson spending most of the rest of the movie with a white, occasionally bloody, ball of cotton wool taped across his nose. The audience gasped with empathetic pain when the knife flicked open his nostril. And it was the director of the movie, in one of two cameos, who inflicted it: the exquisitely miniature Roman P. The other bit of violence happens at the end and I don’t mean the moment when Faye Dunaway is shot through the eye and falls back from the car’s horn to reveal the gaping wound. I mean the bit where John Huston envelopes the girl (the daughter/sister) and hustles her away to some endlessly abusive future.

I’ve seen Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown but I suppose there’s so much violence in all those movies that none of it made a lasting impression.

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