Death Proof

4 out of 5 stars

In its theatrical version, presented as the back half of Grindhouse, Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof felt like a potentially decent comedy sketch ruined by being needlessly dragged out. But with a half hour of footage reinserted (most of it is the “missing reel” from the middle of the film), it now plays like an actual Tarantino movie and not an overly wordy parody of his work. True, some of this has to do with his talky contribution no longer being preceded by Robert Rodriguez’s action-packed Planet Terror, but the reinstated material gives us a little more insight into the psychosis of vehicular serial killer Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell). It also makes it easier to appreciate how Death Proof is itself two movies in one: Halfway through the film, when the action jumps forward 14 months, the faded colors and fake scratches are dispensed with. The dramatic change in picture quality accompanies the arrival of Rosario Dawson, who proves herself more naturally suited to the rhythm of Tarantino’s dialogue than any actor since Samuel L. Jackson. She and Russell clearly had as much fun making Death Proof as the director did, and in this context their enthusiasm feels well warranted.


Release details

Cast and crew

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
Kurt Russell
Rosario Dawson
Jordan Ladd
Rose McGowan
Eli Roth
Tracie Thoms
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Vanessa Ferlito
Sydney Tamiia Poitier
Zoe Bell
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