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Tarantino goes to the dogs

Tarantino is a 1990s icon whose films are both delightful and dismaying. Anthony Julius decodes their appeal, saves the director from himself, but worries about his future

By Anthony Julius   October 1996

Tarantino’s films derive their force from a combination of elements which both surprise and delight and shock and dismay. I have in mind representations of violence which combine the murderously uncontrolled with the balletic; or his hoodlums, reflective brutes who kill and yet speak a language of moral discrimination; or the power of the films to affect us strongly-indeed to be direct assaults upon our sensibilities-and yet also to achieve a powerful allusive resonance. They disturb and cite; we cower and make connections. Tarantino can take pleasure both in the traumatising of his audiences and in their “creativity and ingenuity.”…

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