I'm not a Quentin Tarantino apologist, or even a fan. But the talented and eccentric director's influence and abilities are hard to deny. I recently watched "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2" and was, in turn, impressed, repulsed, fascinated, entertained, and even, on occasion, moved.
Much can be said, but what struck me about the second entry ("Vol. 2") in Tarantino's latest mythology was how openly pro-life it was. It's an odd statement, I know, since the "Kill Bill" movies (like all of Tarantino's movies) are extremely violent, even sadistic, containing some very shocking and graphic imagery. But the heart of the story—the very catalyst for the entire mythology—is The Bride's (Uma Thurman) realization that she is pregnant. This realization leads to her almost immediate decision to radically change her life, flee from the world of hired killing, and seek to disappear into the "normal" world as a mother, wife, and music store clerk. Of course, life isn't so easy; instead of peace and quiet she is nearly killed, while all of her friends and fiancé aren't so fortunate, dying at the hands of her former boss/lover, the mysterious Bill.
Anyhow, "Vol. 2" is especially forceful in showing that the (initially) unborn and (later) born child is, in fact, just that: a child. Not a fetus, not a potential abortion, not even an inconvenience. No, the baby is the reason to change and to hope that life is not fatalistic and ultimately cowed by death, but actually involves free will and moral choice.
I'm not saying that I think this is Tarantino's main concern; he might even scoff at such an analysis. But he seems to intuitively recognize that that the amoral, bleak landscape he wandered through in "Pulp Fiction" is mostly barren and devoid of the sort of moral conflict that propels good drama. Cleverness and hipness only go so far. Eventually an artist needs characters, purpose, and a moral vision to create work that has some value beyond cheap thrills.
"Kill Bill" is not for everyone (far from it!) and it's not perfect. But it does prove, I think, that Tarantino is capable of work that has depth and value, if only he is willing to keep embracing the basic premise that the universe has a moral core, that humans are agents of free will, and that a character's humanity is of more value than his pop culture IQ. In a way, his work reminds me of something Flannery O'Connor might have created if she weren't a Catholic, made films, and had worked in a video store during her college years. Maybe I'm giving Tarantino too much credit; I hope not. But I do hope his work continues on the strange and often surprising trajectory is appears to be on.