According to Barlow, our current debate over movie violence began in the early Sixties when the old Production Code was replaced with the Motion Picture Association of America's new rating system. The use of the squib (a packet of blood-like liquid that explodes and simulates the impact of a bullet) and the release of movies like The Wild Bunch moved attitudes towards a more graphic depiction of violence. Barlow adds that Tarantino shares that attitude but that he is "generally nowhere near as graphic in his violence as many contemporary directors."
Chapter three ends with provocative questions that will permeate the remainder of the book. "Why is blood worse than, say, torture represented without blood?"
Six of Tarantino's movies, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, are each examined in detail as they relate to the issue at hand — violence. Throughout the book, Barlow draws upon the knowledge and opinions of an impressive cast from Roger Ebert to Noel Coward, Thomas Pynchon, James Agee, and even Nietzsche and Aristotle. There are frequent references to influential works of other artists, particularly writings and film.
A three-page timeline precedes an extensive list of author's notes, bibliography, and index.
Barlow can be characterized as an apologist for Tarantino but leaves the final conclusion to the individual reader. Most likely book buyers that have vowed not to see another violent Tarantino movie will shy away from this book and Barlow will be left preaching to the choir — hopefully, the un-enlightened will give it a shot.
The book concludes with another reminder that all behavior results in either positive or negative consequences, and Tarantino's challenge to his audience to "look to the extremes of what they can do and to follow their imaginations, just as he does for himself."