Sally Menke, the film editor who did her best work with Quentin Tarantino, died today. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times that is still unfolding, she went for a hike yesterday in Griffith Park and never returned. Her body was found this morning. Los Angeles is currently in the midst of an unprecedentedly brutal heatwave. It's possible the temperature was a factor. It's sad news. Menke was the secret weapon and special sauce in every Tarantino production. She never did more to a scene than what was necessary, which is true of most editors (or should be), but with Tarantino, more was often was required.
Nearly every sequence in both volumes of "Kill Bill" required both a comedian's timing and an athlete's nimbleness. Ditto for "Death Proof." For "Jackie Brown," one of the more memorable characteristics of that very nearly great film is the how long the shots seem to last -- many, many seconds, minutes in several cases. That, by the standards of today's filmmaking is an eternity. The movie probes these lowlifes and finds their humanity. Come the big heist sequence at Torrence's Del Amo Mall, danger appears simply in the changing of the tempo of the cutting. The characters' antsiness becomes the movies'. And what about that superb farmhouse sequence that opens "Inglourious Basterds"? Editing gives the scene its power and dread, knowing when, for instance, after a stretch of not being sure the farmer is lying to Lanza, to cut to the sheltered family shivering beneath the floorboards to confirm that he is.
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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