Quentin Tarantino – Homage or Theft?

Quentin Tarantino.
Credit: Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi

Constantly talking about his influences, instinctively launching film discussions in interviews, and slipping in generous numbers of references in his scripts – Quentin Tarantino’s open passion for the cinema makes himself an easy target for the critics.

Feeding on the public’s love for controversy, many strive to pick on every vague similarity to extant films and call it theft. But are these accusations fair?

Originality is almost scarce after countless years of existence even before records began. To put it in broad terms, the world has plenty of room for similarities and coincidences. Even the man himself has once proclaimed, “I steal from every movie ever made.”

Yet, is it homage or theft? When it comes to a creative medium like film, it is hard to see it as either.

Last year, Quentin Tarantino rounded up a Western-inspired Inglourious Basterds that immediately drew comparisons to The Dirty Dozen. But stringing acts of desperate vengeance with elegance, it is a far cry from the more gritty feel of the latter.

Kill Bill may very well be a reinterpretation of Blood Spattered Bride, yet the reignited emotions of the once broken now empowered female was never as strong in its Spanish inspiration.

Be it a painting, a photograph or a video, creative art forms are meant to be influence, inspire, and provoke. Placing things in a new light is nothing short of inspired creation.

A duplicate can become a unique piece, when presented in a different way. What’s more, when an auteur like Quentin Tarantino spins his own neat storytelling yarn, with a vastly different direction, undeniably memorable dialogue, and a talented cast ensemble?

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