Inglourious Reviewingby Tiago C. Paulo / 31.10.2009
Ed’s note: OK so we should have had a review up for Inglorious Basterds long ago. And now, finally, here it is.
In my honest opinion, and for the most part of them, music and film reviews are only good company for number 2 duty on the holy seat. This is why when Andy caught me exiting the cinema after I’d consumed Tarantino’s latest adventure and asked me to write about the film I was filled with skepticism and reluctancy. But Andy has a way of saying please, so I accepted. Plus I read somewhere that Quentin Tarantino wrote the entire Inglourious script on an old typewriter and to avoid mistakes he did it with one finger so I decided it would be fun to write this piece in a similar fashion.
Warning: Please proceed to Wikipedia if you’re looking for a comprehensive synopsis, below you’ll only read through useless wannabe film buff masturbation.
Rumour has it that once upon a time film director Spike Lee went on a media rampage against Tarantino, asking why his movies used the “N” word way too often and stating that he had no right to do so. Days later Tarantino’s official reply was: “Maybe Spike should be asking himself why I fell asleep 3 times trying to watch Malcolm X”. Yes, Tarantino lives in the world of keeping audiences awake and stimulated, even if he has to bring on a Gimp to do so. And contrary to guys like Michael Bay, he found a cult formula of doing so, and still make money out of it.
Since his screen debut, Reservoir Dogs, a story about nothing new with the simplest of plots, film enthusiasts sensed something unique in his craft. Personally I saw a guy who can tell the, “why the chicken crossed the road joke” for more than an hour in the most memorable and entertaining way. Ten years in the making, Inglourious Basterds is no different. It’s a World War 2 movie with good guys, bad guys, explosions, vengeance and comic relief. Besides a few historical twists towards the end, the big twist is that the story is told Tarantino style. Even though it’s a Weinstein Production and it stars Brad Pitt, if you’re not into what Tarantino’s done so far don’t even bother with this one.
I’ll come clean right away. I liked it. I’m not in love with it and I don’t think it’s his masterpiece but I liked sitting through it. It’s entertaining and it compliments the Popcorn and Coke thing. Style wise the movie is flawless, like most of his movies, in every detail, down to the font chosen to roll the credits. Visually it borrows from classics Tarantino is a sucker for. The first Chapter deliberately plays like the intro of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western, setting up one of the main motifs of the story. The second Chapter is a homage to The Dirty Dozen, with Pitt even looking like Lee Marvin. And so on. Tarantino loves showing the viewer what he’s into and what inspires him. He makes sure he puts as much of it as he can into each film, and dialogues between his characters are usually perfect ground to do so. Because part of the movie revolves around a movie theater we often get film references, but they never feel forced. The typical violence is done artfully and it’s amazing how a scene involving scalping someone can put a half smile on your face. The soundtrack is a bit weak compared to his previous films, but maybe I just didn’t like some of the song choices. The cast is pretty international and enjoyable, and most people will rave about, “The Jew Hunter”. Brad Pitt is remarkable in a sequence pretending to be an Italian film director. All the historical characters where brought to life cleverly and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. In fact, pretty much everything about this movie shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Like a trademark the film is split into segments to help its digestion. And personally what makes the movie is one of the Chapters that unfolds entirely inside a bar somewhere in rural Nazi-invaded-France. Everything about that scene is spectacular, and I truly believe it could only be pulled off by Tarantino. Feels like it’s the kind of climax he’s been playing with for awhile but only now he got it to work perfectly. On the other hand there are one or two Chapters that are very forgetful, but far from bad. I don’t want to get into specifics to avoid spoiling the plot.
I’m not going to end this with a meaningfully weaved paragraph on the film because I have nothing else to add, and because my internet got capped so I can’t even steal words from a proper journalist. I hope this review doesn’t help and you find the time to watch Inglourious Basterds and make up your own mind about it. Blah blah blah…