Quentin Tarantino is one of the most popular filmmakers working today, and he has one of the most unique creative voices, too. His movies are known for their non-linear narratives, graphic violence, profanity-laden monologues, pop soundtracks, and homages to the traditions of earlier genres. This combination of elements has struck a chord with moviegoers across the world, to the point that he can make a darkly comic spaghetti western about American slavery and audiences will lap it up. His style has had a tremendous influence on other filmmakers. So, here are 10 Non-Tarantino Movies To Watch If You Like His Work.
10 Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
Guy Ritchie’s feature directorial debut, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, drew immediate parallels with the works of Quentin Tarantino. It has an ensemble cast of gangsters, a dark sense of humor, and a non-linear storyline constructed of interwoven narratives. Ritchie is best described as the British Tarantino. He’s taken all the hallmarks of Tarantino’s work, but instead of satirizing American culture, he satirizes British culture. There is a rich tradition of British crime films going back to their heyday in the 1970s, and with Lock, Stock, Ritchie dragged that tradition into the postmodern era with quick cuts and pop music on the soundtrack.
9 The Boondock Saints
They should make more movies like The Boondock Saints. It’s the story of a couple of twin brothers who kill some Russian gangsters in self-defense and end up taking on all the crime in their hometown of Boston. It’s not a vigilante movie in the vein of Taxi Driver – there are no moral considerations here – but it is right up the alley of any fan of Reservoir Dogs.
It might just be a B-thriller on the surface, but underneath, it’s more complex than that. The movie’s direction feels fresh, thanks to its inventive cinematography and spicy musical score, and there are religious overtones to its seemingly mindless violence that add a couple of layers.
8 True Romance
This one is kind of disingenuous, because it technically is a Tarantino movie. He wrote the script when he was first starting out; it’s just that he didn’t direct it. And the guy who did direct it, Tony Scott, remained pretty true to the script. He changed the non-linear narrative that Tarantino wrote and put it in order, but other than that, Tarantino’s distinctive style of dialogue can be heard in every scene. The film is a blend of romantic drama and crime thriller as a movie buff goes on the run from a ruthless gangster with his prostitute girlfriend.
7 The Usual Suspects
Okay, so this one has, not one, but two disgraced #MeToo people involved in it. It’s directed by Bryan Singer and it stars Kevin Spacey. For some viewers, that will be distracting and conflicting enough not to watch it, and that’s all right. However, for viewers who don’t have a problem with separating the artists from their art, it’s a heck of a movie. Its greatest asset is the brilliant Oscar-winning screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie. It plays around with complex literary devices like flashbacks and the unreliable narrator, and it ends with one of the greatest plot twists of all time.
6 The Wolf of Wall Street
The greatest strength of Quentin Tarantino’s movies – and the key to what makes them so entertaining – is that they can engross you in these grand, sweeping, epic stories, and make you laugh at the same time. His pitch-black comedic tone is what makes his movies such a joy to watch. The same goes for Martin Scorsese’s biopic of Jordan Belfort, a movie that critiques the perpetrators of financial crimes and a life of excess with a big satirical smile on its face. It’s been rightly described as Goodfellas meets The Hangover. Just as that apt comparison might suggest, it’s a wildly fun moviegoing experience.
5 Red State
Quentin Tarantino has never made a straight horror film, but if he did, it would probably look something like this. Red State, written and directed by Kevin Smith, tells the story of three teenage boys who are lured into a trap by the promise of sex and end up being sacrificed to bring about the end of the world. The movie is a play on Christian extremists and doomsday cults and features an incredible performance by John Goodman. Smith handled the distribution for the film himself, and in order for it to qualify for Academy Award consideration, it screened for a one-week run at the New Beverly Cinema, Tarantino’s own movie theater.
4 Bone Tomahawk
Quentin Tarantino’s last couple of movies have been westerns that take the grand old traditions of the genre and fill them with bloody violence and excessive profanity. That’s exactly what S. Craig Zahler did with his cult hit directorial debut, Bone Tomahawk, a blend of revisionist western and gory horror. The first 45 minutes read like a classic John Wayne western, but beyond that, the characters are captured by a vicious tribe and subjected to merciless torture. It’s like The Searchers meets Saw, which, in many ways, is a more extreme way to describe Django Unchained or The Hateful Eight.
3 Natural Born Killers
This is another one that Tarantino wrote, but didn’t direct. It’s a satirical thriller about a couple of killers like Bonnie and Clyde who become celebrities when they’re glorified in the media and followed by an obsessive Manson Family-style cult. Oliver Stone directed the movie as an Oliver Stone movie, not a Quentin Tarantino movie, meaning that it’s more overtly political than Tarantino’s own films. But the characters – including the murderous couple played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis, the equally murderous cop on their trail played by Tom Sizemore, and the TV journalist exploiting their story played by Robert Downey, Jr. – all read as classic Tarantino characters.
2 Seven Psychopaths
Sandwiched between his sleeper hit directorial debut In Bruges and his Oscar-winning tragicomedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is Martin McDonagh’s sophomore effort, Seven Psychopaths. And while it wasn’t as critically acclaimed or as memorable as his other two movies, there is a lot of merit to it. For starters, it’s very similar to the works of Quentin Tarantino with its unconventional story structure, violent depiction of criminals, and bleak sense of humor. It also has an incredible cast – Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson etc. – just like Tarantino’s films. It’s a wild caper about a screenwriter who gets tangled up in a dognapping ring.
1 Get Shorty
The biggest influence on the way Tarantino tells stories, and especially the way he writes dialogue, is pulpy literary extraordinaire Elmore Leonard. Jackie Brown (Tarantino’s only non-original story) was adapted from a Leonard novel and so was this Hollywood-set crime caper starring Pulp Fiction’s John Travolta as a mob enforcer who tries his hand at film producing. Once he arrives in L.A., he finds that the film industry isn’t so different from the criminal underworld he left behind. Travolta is joined by such screen legends as Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, and James Gandolfini in a brilliant ensemble cast.