Tarantino serves up low-life characters and situations from old novels and movies, and he revels in every manner of pulp flagrancy—murder and betrayal, drugs, sex, and episodes of sardonically distanced sadomasochism.
Night and the City is based on a Jules Dassin B-movie from 1950 (same title), but its true spiritual antecedent, I suspect, is Sweet Smell of Success, the wonderfully ambivalent melodrama about the pleasures and corruptions of New York night-life in the late fifties, starring Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster.
Can the sentiment of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket be anything but mere attitude—death-enthralled chic?
In Little Big Man, Arthur Penn uses the mode of comic elegy in order to sustain a reverent feeling for the American past without falling into sentimentality
Although Peckinpah’s general attitudes turn out to be reactionary to the point of madness, he has never functioned better as a filmmaker: Straw Dogs is a hateful but very exciting movie.