It goes without saying, that in my humble opinion, Quentin Tarantino is a cinematic genius.Several controversies aside (I’m looking straight at you Spike Lee) it is clear that Tarantino deserves to be mentioned alongside greats such as Hitchcock, Scorsese, Wilder, Welles, Ford, Fellini, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Leone. The fact that Tarantino has borrowed and copied from many of these gentlemen goes without saying, and you can see their influences as well as others all over his films. But that’s because Tarantino is truly a student of cinema, and while he is known for his homages, incredible soundtracks, and amazing use of the Dutch angle, he is also a master of the close up shot, in particular the extreme close up.
Close ups are generally used to convey emotion, or to settle in on a particular action that the director wants us to focus on. They are intended to convey some information that the director wants us to be aware of and Tarantino does that in spades, from Uma Thurman’s wiggling toes in Kill Bill Vol. 1 to Calvin Candie signing Hilde’s freedom papers in Django Unchained, if there is something that he wants us to see, Tarantino forces us to see it.
Jacob T. Swinney put together this sweet video of Tarantino’s entire catalogue of extreme close ups (at the time, The Hateful Eight had not yet been released). Check it out below: