The screenplays and films of Quentin Tarantino raise profound comic and ethical dilemmas. Developing ideas from Lacanian psychoanalysis, Botting and Wilson explore ethical issues in relation to Tarantino's work, postmodernity and recent cultural theory. They argue that Tarantino's texts provide a provocative and telling contribution to theorized accounts of contemporary culture.

The term ‘Tarantinian’ has been coined to refer to a set of sampled, self-authorizing signs that are cinematically assembled in processes of ‘consuming-producing-expending’ in the general context of a postmodern capitalism that enjoins excess. The Tarantinian ethics are elaborated, in the midst of a homogenized fast-food, movie and video culture, in relation to heterogeneous events of violence, horror and laughter.

Witty and incisive, the book illuminates and interrogates contemporary structures of identity, desire and consumption. It will be of great interest to students of cultural studies, social theory and communication.

‘Let's Get into Character’: The Ethics of Personality

‘Let's Get into Character’: The Ethics of Personality

‘Let's get into character’: The ethics of personality

The Stand-off

In the midst of a debate about foot massage, Jules Winnfield pauses outside the door to the apartment where, unwittingly, his victims are having breakfast. He motions to his colleague, Vincent Vega, to hang back. ‘Let's get into character’, he says, composing himself before knocking on the door to the assassination of three young men. ‘Let's go to work’ (Tarantino, 1994b: 23).

It may seem odd for a character in a movie to talk about getting into character, but that is because Tarantino employs a different conception of character to that derived from the realist novel. Character, in Tarantino, is not produced as an effect of a representation being judged ...

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