Breaking Down Tarantino’s Violence in Image and Music

Movie directors tend to create their realm with definitive features through which the audience will experience their worlds. All the creative directors have managed to distinguish their movies with a blend of techniques that would make the audience recognizes their films without even reading their names on the credits. Quentin Tarantino embraces violence as part of his world. In fact, violence is a cornerstone in the art Tarantino puts on screen and he doesn’t deploy it just for the sake of bursting adrenaline in the viewers’ heads. Instead, he disperses blood scenes in his works to serve a greater goal; a catharsis of emotions. This rage is turned into mayhem with exaggerating blood splatter and explosive bullets running towards the bad guys (or good?)

Composing a scene of fighting and blood is not only how Tarantino loves to showcase his deep thoughts. Violence in Tarantino’s world is achieved on so many levels and aspects from quick action scenes, funky conversation that is not pertaining to the general mood, sounds, soundtrack and colour. They all play a final role; tell a story of violence and relief. So, let us break down Tarantino’s mastery of violence in his work. Watching any movie directed by Tarantino, you can tell even before knowing it is his work from how unique the fighting scenes are articulated. The characters in his movies like Django Unchained are emotionally fighting for their cause. They also fight for our anger and frustration. It might be some sort of fantasy feelings, like his reshaping of Charles Manson’s incident in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. He makes the audience feel like they are revenging on the harsh and unfair life.

Credit: Miramax Films

While many directors tend to use violent scenes in action and thriller movies, what makes Tarantino stands out is his brilliant style that depends on two main aspects: image and sound. As the image is composed on the screen, there is remaining one important element to touch the viewer’s heart; how it will speak out. When the character throws a knife or a punch at their enemy, you can hear that funky engaging sound that reminds us of animated cartoons. It creates a contrast that intrigues the mind and makes the viewer all focused. Then comes the magic effect of the soundtracks that play even more contradicting tones while there is a murder scene running on the screen. Perhaps, the ear cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs is the perfect example. In this scene, Mr Blonde went on dancing to the melodies of (Stuck in the Middle with You – Stealers Wheel) while getting ready to attack the captured cop and cut his ear.

Before assuming we can corner Tarantino in one pattern of movies, we should bear in mind his brilliant mind that started that unique style. He is a director who breaks away from any uniformity to challenge ideas and traditions. So, viewers can expect a change from the notable combination of exaggerated sound effects with a bloodbath in his scenes. He made that clear in Pulp Fiction’s Ezekiel scene. Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega are two hit-men trying to retrieve a suitcase stolen from their employer, mob boss Marsellus Wallace. In the scene, Jules is intimidating their suspect while eating a burger and Vincent is in the background smoking a cigarette. The scene takes place in a sun-lit setting that deceivingly invokes relaxing vibes in contrast to the actual frightening reality that is about to happen. The silence of the scene, again in contrast to Tarantino’s style of sound effects, comes handy along with the setting to deliver a contradiction against what the viewer might be expecting.

Credit: Miramax Films

In an interview, Tarantino once said: “because it’s so much fun, Jan, get it!”. Those who appreciate his work, get it. It is mixtures of emotions that make the movie time a wonderful experience.

Contributor Credentials:


Ahmed Azzam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *