Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Sydney Poitier, Tracie Thoms, Rose McGowan, Jordan Ladd, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Quentin Tarantino, Marcy Harriell, Eli Roth, Omar Doom, Michael Bacall, Monica Staggs, Jonathan Loughran, Marta Mendoza, Melissa Arcaro, Michael Parks, James Parks, Marley Shelton
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 114
Date: 22/05/2007

Death Proof (2007)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Cold, Hard Crash

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Death Proof on DVD

The DVD release of Quentin Tarantino's uncut Death Proof is a revelation. Freed from the constraints of the Grindhouse package, Death Proof can now spread out, find its proper rhythms, and emerge as another excellent Tarantino classic. While Robert Rodriguez attempted to follow the "grindhouse" formula and create a copy -- essentially a joke -- Tarantino tried something new and personal. He may have failed to live up to the "grindhouse" mantle, but his film will last much longer. Like most of Tarantino's work, it's actually a sly work of film criticism, commenting upon certain genres of film, and in this case, gender roles. After a night of drinking, four party girls (led by Sydney Poitier and Vanessa Ferlito) succumb to the evil whims of a sadistic stuntman (Kurt Russell) who enjoys crashing his sturdy, reinforced car into other cars. In the film's second half, four more girls (Zoe Bell, Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms and Mary Elizabeth Winstead) appear, but these girls work on movie sets -- two of them as stuntwomen -- and are therefore savvier in regard to such things. They wind up fighting back and winning. Future scholars will have fun comparing and contrasting the women, plus the wild card, played by Rose McGowan, who also appeared in Rodriguez's segment. But this is no cold, analytical essay; movie buffs can also have a great time just watching.

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