Quentin Tarantino wasn’t placed on this Earth to become a director. His purpose, if indeed such a thing exists, is something else altogether.
Tarantino’s innate gift isn’t being behind the camera. When I picture Tarantino doing what he does best, I see him perched over his notebook, scribbling a script with his multi-colored pens.
His gift isn’t moving a camera, it is wielding a pen. While Tarantino is in exalted company as a director, as a writer, he is without many peers.
It is his propensity for crafting a specific kind of dialogue and his intuitive understanding of his characters that has made him a formidable cinematic force.
The screenplay is the beating heart of any movie, and dialogues are the lifeblood of a screenplay; writing dialogue is an art form in itself. And in that regard, I find Tarantino outstanding.
His dialogue has a rhythmic, almost poetic aspect to it, and he overwhelms us with his tantalizing tangential conversations. But he isn’t the only one to have found tremendous success in doing so.
Aaron Sorkin does something similar, only his brand of dialogue is more hyper-articulate and farther from the realms of plausibility.
While Sorkin’s dialogue is something a person in the real could never say, Tarantino’s dialogue is much more tangible and relatable, evocative of those moments when you think of the perfect response, but after the conversation.
He concentrates on minutiae and not magnificent monologues. More crucially, and this is tied to his sterling character work, Tarantino’s dialogue is revelatory.
While his characters ponder over the seemingly inconsequential vagaries of life such as the hidden phallic meaning in Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin,’ their pattern is not only laced with wit but it also subtly yet meticulously reveals who they are as people.
Tarantino’s dialogue rhythmically sheds light into his characters’ personalities, eccentricities and insecurities.
It is also layered with a great deal of subtext. When Hans Landa speaks of his fascination with rats in Inglorious Basterds, he isn’t merely talking about rodents.
Tarantino’s movies are character-based, and his characters are fleshed out through his inventive use of dialogue.
He utilises dialogue as an entertaining exposition device, as means to generate and sustain tension, and to expose character motivation.
Quentin Tarantino is a tremendous storyteller. His command over dialogue and character, and the interweaving of those two facets forms the bedrock of his engaging and enormously entertaining oeuvre.
There are better directors in this world than Quentin Tarantino. But there are perhaps merely a handful of better writers as far as dialogue and its relation with character is concerned.
He is one of the masters of that domain. And his films soar because of it.