best film: Pulp Fiction is a seminal film in the one hundred plus year history of narrative cinema and a fine choice to have as the best film for any actor. Uma’s other collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill, is also a masterpiece (though not on the level of Pulp Fiction) so clearly a candidate for this category. Pulp Fiction is a three-pronged masterpiece— magnificent writing (on par with or superior to the great works of say Ingmar Bergman, Billy Wilder or say the works of Charlie Kaufman), tour de force direction behind the camera (the dance contest sequence, the freeze frame on Amanda Plummer with soundtrack drop), and a structural non-linear sonic boom. The dance contest scene is cinematic bliss— maybe it does not quite touch the opening of The Searchers and a dozen other scenes (Goodfellas Copacabana is another) but still, Tarantino’s scene is in that next tier—it deserves a Psycho shower scene breakdown, appraisal, and analysis. Tarantino uses a symmetrical wide shot, the camera glides in on both actors individually and then again together– and the fade to black at the end is crucial. In the very next scene, Tarantino actually gets off another sublime shot. This time it is of Uma dancing to “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon” from Urge Overkill as this is all captured in one take as Uma dives back and forth behind a column in the house.
best performance: Pulp Fiction. Uma slays it in Pulp Fiction. She is not just good- she jumps off the screen. For most any other actor, being front and center in a four-hour action masterpiece would be the easy choice for a best performance, but here Uma’s work as the Bride in Kill Bill is a close runner-up to her work as Mia Wallace in the 1994 landmark film.
stylistic innovations/traits: The nearly six foot tall statuesque blond was a name in Hollywood by eighteen (18) and had been an integral part of one of the best films of all-time by the time she was just twenty- five (25). Uma Thurman is almost totally reliant on her collaborations with Tarantino to make this list but that is not uncommon- looking higher up the list how about Masina with Fellini, Karina with Godard?. Uma is so well suited to QT’s dialogue and style. Uma’s top two performances are tough to top from any actor- but the downside to Uma’s case is pretty obvious as well. Her top five performances below are just obliterated by someone like Rachel Weisz just in front of her on this list.
directors worked with: The big two films are with Quentin Tarantino (2). Uma also worked with Lars von Trier (2) and then one archiveable film with Terry Gillian (1) and Woody Allen (1). In the collaborations with both Tarantino and von Trier she is an a two-part film that was really one film, shot at once, but split apart for distribution purposes.
top five performances:
- Pulp Fiction
- Kill Bill
- Dangerous Liaisons
|1988- Dangerous Liaisons|
|1988- The Adventures of Baron Munchausen|
|1994- Pulp Fiction|
|1999- Sweet and Lowdown|
|2003- Kill Bill Vol. 1|
|2004- Kill Bill Vol. 2|
|2018- The House That Jack Built|