21
Aug
2009
Review: Inglourious Basterds
Inglourious Basterds
Sam
Quentin Tarantino has clearly decided that he can do whatever he wants. The problems this causes are debatable. Tarantino has fallen in love with the concept of making movies he really loved when he was younger like Kung-fu and the such, but now he's on exploitation flicks. This is fine unless no one gets the point. Tarantino's newest film, Inglourious Basterds is just that and nothing more. Not the rich storytelling of Reservoir Dogs or the genius, non-linear Pulp Fiction.

Expectations and simply knowing what kind of movie one is about to watch is often important to the movie experience. Basterds demands that people understand schlock and those who think of it as a typical war story of American Jews whose only mission is to kill and scalp as many Nazis as they can may be in for a disappointment. The goal of the movie is to be violent, not a bad thing as far as I'm concerned.
The movie seems to lie in that purgatory of viewing, meaning its damnation will be because of two sides that don't get it. One side is indignant saying that this is just torture porn. But Basterds is more about laughing and having a good time with the ol' ultraviolence, not clenching your fist taking deep emotional pleasure with the murder of those nasty Nazis. The other side of this are people who actually take deep emotional pleasure in seeing a Nazi mutilated. To me most (I hope) people fall in the middle seeing the exploitative nature of the film and see that Tarantino used a easy thing to not feel bad about seeing brutally murdered"”Nazis. Of course its not really my place to say how someone is supposed to enjoy a movie, but I digress.
The movie is overindulgent and its clear the amount of fun Tarantino had with writing such an over-the-top script. Even many shots are indulgent like a shot of crème on a pastry or a flying cigarette heading for a bunch of flammable film. The actors in the film chewed their scenery appropriately. Brad Pitt was no doubt the leader, practically smirking through the entire film knowing how ridiculous it is,
but enjoying the lines Tarantino wrote for his character.

Tarantino acknowledges the perverse nature of watching a film like this in a scene where the Nazis are watching a propaganda film where a notable German soldier is gunning down Americans. Anyone who couldn't catch the "Oh, we're kinda like the Nazis now" moment must have been blinded by a false idea that Tarantino is totally pro-violence always. I'd like to think he's a bit more than a one-dimensional director in this regard. Of course the propaganda film is followed by a super hot Jewess exacting her revenge and blowing up the theatre. Tarantino wants you to feel uneasy, an idea that many fans might not warm up to.

That leaves the viewer with a mindless violent film that had a great sense of humor about itself. As just that the film was successful, but as I said sometimes excruciatingly overindulgent. Viewed as strictly an exploitation film Basterds was mostly successful but if one comes in with different expectations you may just be seeing stupid, mindless violence, in other words exactly what Tarantino wanted you to see.

B


Notes:

-Not a lot of mention of acting in the film but I can round it up here pretty simply, largely bad but Pitt, Melanie Laurent (hot jewess), and Christoph Waltz (Hans Landa) were strong and embraced the ridiculousness.

-Thinking about guessing Jordan's grade, I'm gonna say in the C range. We saw it with a blood thirsty audience who fell into that "German bad-German Die!!!" crowd. Also clapping which is a pet-peeve of mine in movies, they can't hear you folks.
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