Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Richard Fine


This thesis examines the critical response to Quentin Tarantino’s representations of screen violence, primarily the violent content in his three revenge thrillers: Kill Bill (2003-4), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and Django Unchained (2012). Throughout Tarantino’s career, critics have attacked him for aestheticizing bloodshed to such a degree that it becomes a glib, pop culture affectation, and the empirically larger amounts of violent content in the revenge thrillers has only encouraged this claim. This paper argues for a recontextualization of how Tarantino wields brutality throughout these three pictures, that the rise in graphic content reflects a greater engagement with social-moral concerns in a manner that is both socially responsible – to echo Susan Sontag’s views on visual representations of violence in Regarding the Pain of Others (2003) – and creatively consistent among those artists looking to retain their cultural significance as they age.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

Available for download on Tuesday, May 10, 2214