Reviewed by: Chris Sosa
How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer
|Featuring||Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodríguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Naveen Andrews, Stacy Ferguson, Nicky Katt, Hung Nguyen, Tom Savini, Carlos Gallardo, lectra Isabel Avellas, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Parks, Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Tracie Thoms, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Zoe Bell, Michael Bacal, Eli Roth, Monica Staggs, Tim Murphy, Marta Mendoza, Kelley Robins, Danny Trejo, Nicolas Cage|
|Director||Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino|
|Producer||Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Quentin Tarantino|
“The sleaze-filled saga of an exploitation double feature.”
“Grindhouse”—noun—A downtown movie theater—in disrepair since its glory days as a movie palace of the '30s and '40s—known for “grinding out” non-stop double-bill programs of B-movies. “‘Grindhouse’ is made in the spirit of old Hollywood presentations, including trailers and short extra materials between stories.”
Quentin Tarantino is one of cinema’s most respected recent filmmakers. Due to his success with the “Kill Bill” series, fans have flocked to see any movie with his name in the credits. Robert Rodriguez, best known for his “Spy Kids” movies and “Sin City,” seemed like the perfect person to collaborate with Quentin on a venture to attempt recreating a “grindhouse” film. So at the helm of Grindhouse’s first feature, “Planet Terror,” is Robert Rodriguez. Quentin Tarantino directs the second film, “Death Proof.”
“Planet Terror” is an action-packed attempt at recreating a zombie B-movie. With stunning creativity and thoroughly entertaining dialogue, this is the best feature of the two in this reviewer’s opinion. Even trying to explain the plot would do this film a disservice, as the plot isn’t really the point. In fact, a coherent plot barely exists due to the fantastical nature of the film. This film is about recreating a “grindhouse” film, or maybe more accurately, satirizing one. And that it does with great affection. Popping and crackling film reels, cheesy dialogue, a “go-go” dancer for a main character, and fake trailers preceding the feature, no element of the classic B-movie was forgotten. The audience loved it, yelling in disgust at the blood-soaked visuals, busting out with laughter at the near-perfectly timed comic dialogue and situations, and booing at the “missing” reels.
The second film, “Death Proof,” actually seemed to be a grindhouse film, rather than taking itself lightly and satirizing the genre while mimicking. Quentin perfectly recreated a classic B-movie, using a time-honored car-chase revenge plot. Basically, the film’s main segment centered on a group of girls fighting for their lives against a crazed stunt-car driver, eventually turning the tables on the crazed driver and attempting to take him down. This more serious approach of mimicking, with little satire, seemed to be a disadvantage in comparison with “Planet Terror,” as this film was not nearly as amusing as “Planet Terror.” And the audience could’ve done without the plodding dialogue through the majority of the film to get to the high-speed chase at the end, even though the plodding was true to the genre.
Now for the content… This segment will be more of a summary than an exact recounting, as possible objectionable content was incredibly pervasive. The main concern will be the violence, and it was disgusting. One wonders how any film could possibly receive an NC-17 rating for violence if this film was rated “R.” While “Planet Terror” was infinitely more violent than “Death Proof,” both films were outlandishly violent. Blood streamed, bones cracked, and infected mutants’ lesions exploded, just to name very few elements. In fact, to cite numerous acts of violence in “Grindhouse” would only sicken many readers, as they were truly gratuitous. Recalling a recent more-violent film would be very difficult. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” would be the closest. While the violence in “Grindhouse” is completely tongue-in-cheek, many viewers probably still will not be able to stomach it.
Sexual content is the second largest issue, and it is incredibly pervasive. Gratuitous boob-shots, rape situations, graphic dialogue, and overtly sexual situations are all present. And sensuality abounds, true to B-movie form. The first film opens with a pole-dance, setting the sensual tone for the next few hours. And it is important to note that sensual content is meshed with very violent content in many scenes.
Lastly is the language, and it is also very pervasive. As with many current films, anyone with any concerns about frequent usage of the harshest language would be well-served skipping “Grindhouse.” And just as a note, substance abuse is also present.
Spiritually speaking, this film is entirely devoid of anything worth mentioning. The most religious segment comes in the form of a fake trailer, and deals with a priest who becomes a brutal murderer. The rest of “Grindhouse” is a great lesson on how not to live a Christian life. Murder, rape, revenge… these films show the opposite of the Christian’s call to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. However, it is extremely important to note that “Grindhouse” is never meant to be taken seriously, so the actions of the characters are never promoted in any way.
In closing, “Grindhouse” is a cinematic masterpiece, and entertaining in a way that not many other films are. Every tiny segment of “Grindhouse” is expertly thought-out and refreshingly imaginative. While these statement’s are entirely true, do not mistake them for an endorsement of the film. After all, artistic as it may be, this is pure exploitation cinema. So naturally many Christian viewers will probably prefer not to visit the grindhouse.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.