Quentin Tarantino

Life at the Extremes

by Aaron Barlow


In part because of the ways he uses violence, there are few directors of his generation that provoke as much interest as Quentin Tarantino. His films have been consistent moneymakers for well over a decade, making him one of the most successful, critically respected, and popular filmmakers of his generation.

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March 2010


Pages 187
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Film
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This book places Quentin Tarantino at the heart of Hollywood, showing a director who speaks film through film, who examines the world beyond the movies in a way few have previously attempted, and at which fewer still have succeeded.

Quentin Tarantino: Life at the Extremes explores the uses of violence in the films Tarantino has written, directed, and produced. Arguing that extreme violence is central to Tarantino’s art, the book helps readers understand its purpose in his films—as metaphor, as movement, and as motivation. For Tarantino, the book explains, violence serves the purposes of film. In each of his movies, he explores the boundaries of taste and audience reaction, using violence and shock to bring questions of responsibility and expectation to the forefront of discussions on cinema.

After introductory chapters placing Tarantino and his films within the broader context of American cinema, author Aaron Barlow focuses on Tarantino's six major directorial efforts. Each film is discussed from its genre starting point and the differing directions the films take are explored, as are the structural elements. In the end, readers will see how Tarantino deliberately pushes film in new directions through old techniques, styles, and even actors, crafting original art from what others have discarded.


  • A chronology dates events in the life of Quentin Tarantino, as well as significant developments in the world of the movies
  • Includes a detailed listing of Tarantino's film career, noting his participation in projects as an actor, writer, producer, and director, with details on each film, including cast and other participants


  • Offers the first book-length study of Quentin Tarantino's work to seriously examine his films in terms of the history of movies and the developing theories encompassed in the field of film studies
  • Provides a study of the Tarantino films Inglourious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, and Death Proof in their cultural context, including discussion of the impact of depictions of violence on society
  • Includes extended discussions of Tarantino’s work as a screenwriter on films including Natural Born Killers and True Romance and as a producer, in which role he’s had a critical impact on the rise of extreme horror movies like the Hostel franchise
  • Provides a basis for further explorations of the movies through detailed analysis of Tarantino's major works
Author Info

Aaron Barlow , PhD, teaches writing at New York City College of Technology at the City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Barlow has written three previous Praeger books, The DVD Revolution: Movies, Culture, and Technology, The Rise of the Blogosphere, and Blogging America: The New Public Sphere.



"Arguing that extreme violence is central to Tarantino's art, the book helps readers understand its purpose in his films—as metaphor, as movement, and as motivation."—Stevo's Book Reviews

"Anyone who enjoys Tarantino’s movies and wants a greater context to place them in . . . or simply would like to share in the enthusiasm of a knowledgable narrator while thinking about issues such as violence in film and how we react to it would find it well worth their time to peruse the book."—Zaptown

"Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers."—Choice

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