pay attention There is some neural filter that raises or lowers your attention to events around you. You are bumbling along, only paying slight attention to what is happening around you, when your neurons wake up and shout 'OI PAY ATTENTION THIS IS IMPORTANT' so you wake up a bit and notice you are about to crash the car.
Tarantino can jolt that filter, so that you are constantly wide awake: 'this is important'. Graphic violence helps of course, that must be the most ancient neural trigger, but my attention never wanders even when we are looking at a woman in a coma (for example). It never lets up.
He also has the facility to make everyone look cool. Uma Therman comes across as this fantastic presence - but have you seen her in any other directors' films? She ain't nothing special. But here - special. How? How does he tell your neural network 'these people are important, these actions are important'? It's a kind of trick, like Spielberg pulling your heart-strings, but it works.
I'm going to have to let it sink down through the filter-beds before I decide whether it has anything else going for it except that. The content is beefy but corny. Corned-beefy I suppose. I'm always happy to see tough women meting out tough justice, and Uma kicks arse.
So, in short: intense, good looking, exciting and rather silly. But enough of me...
my theory I am wondering whether the whole sequence of events, from Uma awakening from a coma, is intended to be her coma dream. It is heady and ridiculous, vivid and meaningless. And, most significantly, the world in which she lies like the dead is characterised by two important features - Guns and Cops. That's all we see of the 'real world': guns and cops, and Uma unconscious.
In the world where she is conscious, there are No Cops, and there are No Guns. If either of them existed, then the world wouldn't work. She'd be shot or arrested.
Hmmm... I just remembered something. There is one instance of a gun in this dream-world. It is fired, but never seen, because it is hidden. Does this support or undermine my theory?
Uma-in-the-dream narrates the childhood of another woman. There are guns in that dream-within-a-dream. But the whole sequence is a cartoon.
And, finally both Uma's dream, and Uma's dream-within-a dream show a girl seeing her mother die. And then Uma kills the girl who saw her mother die in the dream-within-a-dream.
my complaint I just wanted to say that lots of films nowadays (The Matrix II, Crouching Tiger, Fellowship of the Ring etc.) show the hero defeating literally absurd numbers of enemies in one-to-many (or few-to-very many) combat.
I don't like it. But I guess everyone else does. They'll probably like it in this film, then.