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Curdled

In 1992, while doing the rounds with Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino saw a 30-minute short which he later encouraged director Reb Braddock to expand into a full-length feature. [The film was eventually made by Tarantino’s production company, A Band Apart, with Quentin acting as executive producer.] The result is a smart, over-stretched black comedy about a young Latino woman, Gabriela (Angela Jones), who gratifies her morbid obsession with murder by working for a post-forensic cleaning company that specialises in mopping up its gruesome aftermath. Anoraks will note the similarity to Harvey Keitel’s cleaner in Pulp Fiction, and the fact that Ms. Jones played the sexy cab driver who helps boxer Bruce Willis to escape after he fails to take a dive.

The almost child-like quality of Gabriela’s macabre fascination is deftly sketched in, as she pores over her collection of newspaper cuttings or tries to recreate the choreography of death suggested by the chalk marks, bullet holes and blood stains. Fantasy and reality finally merge when Gabriela comes face to face with the Blue Blood Killer, a smooth sociopath (played with icy charm by William Baldwin) who preys on wealthy women. In a confrontation filmed as a single four-and-a-half-minute shot, the killer forces her to re-enact the dance of death implied by the murder scene, from both the victim’s and the assailant’s points of view. This bravura sequence virtually justifies the price of admission .

U.S.A., 1996.
Colour.
Dolby stereo.
88 mins.

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