Saturday, 21 January 2012

Kill Bill Vol. 2 Burial Scene Analysis

This scene from Kill Bill Vol. 2 (directed by Quentin Tarantino, 2004) is a great example of creating a claustrophobic environment. The chiaroscuro lighting created by the torch is the only lighting in the coffin, just like when the spotlights and torches are the only lighting in the sewers of Vienna in "The Third Man". The earlier scene where the Bride is first buried creates a brilliant sense of entrapment, as you see the coffin being sealed and then hear it go into the ground. The darkness that slowly fills that scene, combined with the reactions of the Bride, bring you into the scene and it makes you feel like you are also trapped in the coffin. The screen then goes black, and all you can hear is the dirt falling onto the coffin - in a dark cinema you would feel like the cinema is a coffin - you are trapped inside it.

The music used in the scene prior to the burial, when The Bride fails to assassinate Bill's brother Bud (the person who buries the Bride) is an intertextual reference to the music used in the final duel scene of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".

Furthermore, the music used in the burial scene shown at the top of this post is also used in this film. A reason why this particular film may be referenced is because the three main characters of Kill Bill are like the title of the referenced film - the Bride is the good, Bill is the bad and Bud, Bill's brother, is the Ugly. They are also having a duel with each other, like in the scene where the music is used in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".

The music used in the scene where the Bride escaped the coffin also inspires us to will her on as she escapes - the music tells us that she has a chance - she has a plan. While the scene has aspects of an action-adventure film - the Bride defies gravity as she escapes the coffin - the claustrophobic, gritty nature of the scene where she is trapped inside the coffin makes the scene mostly thriller. The coffin is also a generic thriller location - claustrophobic, dark, and uncomfortable - so much so that other films have been based entirely on this scene. To the right is a film called "Buried", which is entirely about a man who is buried underground and has to find a way out. This is not as suspenseful and well executed as the scene in Kill Bill Vol. 2, as in Kill Bill Vol. 2 there is less connection to the outside world (in "Buried" he has a mobile phone) and you are brought into the Bride's situation more effectively, with lighting and only the diegetic sound of the Bride and the soil falling onto the coffin.


  1. Your response indicates you understand aspects of inter textuality and indeed the soundtrack in "Kill Bill 2" encourages the audience to will The Bride on. More subtly Tarantino's use of the soundtrack (by Ennio Morricone) from "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" encourages an audience who would be familiar with Leone's spaghetti westerns to compare The Bride with Blondie (the Clint Eastwood character) in the Leone Western with The Bride. This inter textual reference indicates to the audience that The Bride, like Blondie is intelligent and able to worm her way out of impossible situations, thus they will know that she will somehow escape from the coffin.

    Well done Will or illustrating your point with reference to the 2010 Buried which is likely to ahve been informed by Tarantino's gruesome sequence of The Bride in the coffin!

    I am delighted with your effort.

  2. Sorry about typing mistakes in middle paragraph!! I mean "for" illustrating your point, read "ahve" for "have". Also note that the inter textual sound reference indicates that Tarantino awards The Bride the same iconic/heroic status as Blondie in "The Good the Bad and the Ugly".