Pocket Essential Quentin Tarantino by D.K. Holm book review

From The Quentin Tarantino Archives

by Sebastian Haselbeck


Before I start let me apoligize that it took so long getting this review online. And on top of that I lost the first few paragraphs of an already finished review so what you see here is the best I could come up with after losing my original text.

In one of his concluding chapters, DK Holm - the author of The Pocket Essential Quentin Tarantino - writes (let me quote this): "His [Tarantino's] films are like stuffed overnight bags breaking at the seams." With this book, Holm delivers a refreshing alternative to the previously released bunches of QT biographies. He succeeds at giving an all-out, concise but in-depth, look at Tarantino and his films. He starts out with the man's life, and then indulges already into what influenced the man. He clears up lots of rumors and he tries to find answers to all the questions other authors left unanswered or weren't clear about.

Holm follows a very interesting pattern though. Every period of QT's life and work he analyzes, he uses several issues he's shedding light on: he goes into the "time banditry" aspect, the violence controversy, the "magpieism", the music, codes of honor and something he calls "The Tarantino Alternate Universe", but which is not identical with what we fans understand as the Tarantino's Universes theory. He also talks about biography elements, nagging questions and the said foot fetish. All those elements lead to a certain pattern which makes reading this book especially easy (please read on)

What is most helpful at first sight, are short lists of cast, production data, certain end notes and compact information on available versions on DVD (but there he is not all that accurate and the book's not up to date on it, and I noticed some mistakes at least). On the end of each chapter he gives a little conclusion of what you might consider a review. The remarkable thing about this book is its coherence: He opens with all the biography stuff and influences, then goes over all the films and the periods in his life with the above explained pattern of analysis, and then he concludes. And the concluding chapters are remarkably to the point and clear up with lots of stuff. I found it especially interesting how he refutes all the rumors on violence for example.

This book does best, what it promises: to be essential. It is not a biography, and it doesn't want to be. It is not a film guide, and it also not a theoretical film study or a psychological evaluation. It is a blend of all that. Holm has carefully sighted all available material, and he has come up with a very good conclusion of what we could consider the basic and essential information about Quentin Tarantino. He connects biographic information with film analysis and interpretation. He provides numbers and facts, personal opinion and very clever conclusions, all written in very good language.

I salute Holm for writing this book. I was positively surprised at how good he has managed to clear up all the false facts, rumors and myths. And I think he is very courageous and victorious in confronting the violence, language and copy-cat accusations. This book is one that should be at arm's length on every QT fan's desk. A tiny little book that fits between all those Pearys and Bernards, the Dawsons and Woods. A book that can not stand on its own, but is a very sensible addition to what is already available on the market. This book is a very good conclusion of Tarantino Studies so to say, and I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

written by Sebastian Haselbeck

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