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CSI Special: Tarantino's Grave Danger reviewed



Review: Jack Foley

FIRST up, a confession. I am a CSI virgin, but a massive Quentin Tarantino fan.

Hence, as soon as I heard that Tarantino was to direct the two-part season finale of the fifth season of CSI I couldn't wait to see the outcome.

The result was two hours of tension-packed television that will probably go down in history as one of the all-time great episodes of any series.

Tarantino's presence among the CSI fraternity isn't as odd as it may seem at first.

He has long been one of the show's biggest fans and leapt at the opportunity to direct an episode.

He is also no stranger to the small screen, having previously helmed an episode of ER during its first season.

In both cases, he manages to embellish two already great shows with his own unique style without sacrificing any of the enjoyment for existing fans.

What's more, both CSI and ER provide a fitting framework for the director's own form of macabre movie-making - both dealing with violence and its aftermath to varying degrees.

With CSI, especially, the show provides Tarantino with the perfect playground in which to run amok and he wastes no time in getting started.

The two-parter kicks off with the kidnapping of CSI member, Nick Stokes (George Eads), while he is investigating a grisly crime scene.

Having lost one of their own, the remaining CSI members (now split up) reunite once more to find him, with William Petersen's Gil Grissom leading the way.

Coming from the deliciously warped brain of Tarantino, however, Stokes' kidnapping is no simple affair, given that the unfortunate detective is buried alive with only a limited amount of oxygen to keep him going.

An extra twist is that his former colleagues have been sent a live internet link that allows them to see inside the coffin at the press of a button, so that they can keep monitor on Stokes' progress while attempting to find him.

But as time rapidly runs out, the situation grows increasingly more desperate given that Stokes has been left with a handgun to put an end to his suffering, while also being faced with the prospect of flesh-eating ants crawling all over him as he awaits any rescue.

The ensuing two hours is as gripping as it sounds and a double-edged treat for both Tarantino and CSI fans alike.

The director's quirky humour is evident in several of the vocal exchanges, while his penchant for the macabre is fully realised in a surreal dream sequence during which Stokes is made to witness his own autopsy.

The fact that he has been buried alive also brings back memories of Kill Bill 2 and Uma Thurman's brush with death in that movie - so perhaps it is no coincidence that both CSI episodes have affectionately been dubbed Volume One and Two (there are plenty of visual nods to both Kill Bill films throughout).

Yet while Tarantino film buffs will be satisfied with many of the director's touches, CSI fans will doubtless be pleased with the way he integrates his vision into the show's established formula, while simultaneously bringing a story arc to a close (involving the team's division).

The result is a masterclass in American television; one which has that rare ability to appeal to converts and the uninitiated alike.

It can only broaden the show's appeal as it contemplates a sixth season.

CSI: Season 5 finale - A CSI devotee writes

CSI Season 4 - review

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