Inglorious Basterds

2009-09-18 | |

Quentin Tarantino is well known in the movie world for his b-movie style, pulp novella, bloodfests on the big screen. If there isn't a head coming off, or a gun being fired a ridiculous amount of times, it's not worth his time writing it. This summer saw the release of his historically questionable gore-fest titled Inglorious Basterds [sic].

The film opens in a not-so-traditional fashion, with the acting credits given at the start. It's actually brilliant in the way it 'fits the era' as it were. Some of the casting also gives you pause for thought - Mike Myers? In a Tarantino film? What? - I'll get to that later though. In all, this 2 hour romp through the Third Reich is split into five chapters - one setting the scene for the antagonist, Hans Landa, and lesser protagonist, Shoshanna Dreyfuss; two on the Basterds; and two on Shoshanna Dreyfuss.

While it's a good film, it's disjointed. It's true it flows chronologically, but, it jumps during the chapters and can sometimes feel like there are totally different, non-intertwined stories going on, especially in the jump from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2. That's merely my point of view, but, for others, it might have worked. Admittedly, it is better in its cuts and jumps than Kill Bill.

Gore-wise, Tarantino held back a lot in the first hour or so. Sure, Nazis were bludgeoned to death, and scalped, and Jews were killed...but nothing huge happened until Chapter 4, Operation Kino, and even then, there was half an hour of a game of "Who am I?" played out by Nazi officers before there was any hint of there being a gun in the room. The ensuing bravado and folly was actually laughably good - it was true Tarantino - 'If someone pulls a gun, everyone pulls a gun; if someone pulls a trigger, the entire room goes up!'

Historically, it was never going to be a true story. Tarantino basically rewrote the war. And then tore it up, and rewrote it again. Sure, the Allies won; then he killed off Hitler himself; then he just tore up the rules and said "Screw it. Let's have the Jews do it." And that's how everything went off. The American involvement was a complete success - the Pearl Harbour of Tarantino's career (i.e. a rewrite); the British involvement was laughable, so much so, they put Mike Myers as our highest general in the land. Comedy gold? Sort of. All I could think was "My God, Austin Powers really let himself go before the 60s..."

The real star of the show though has to have been Christoph Waltz. He not only spoke fluent French, Italian and German; he acted the part down to a tee. I could have actually believed that he was an SS officer; I could have believed he loved what he did. There wasn't a flaw in his acting; same for Eli Roth and Melanie Laurent. Brad Pitt though? Hm. Bit much, I think. Especially that horrible Yankee-doodle-dandy drawl he had going. Maybe not my cup of tea in this sort of film.

But, when it comes down to it. It was a decent film. I went for blood, gore, and Nazi-bashing; and that's what I got. Admittedly there was very little of it, considering it's a Tarantino flick, but, I suppose he couldn't destroy all of Nazi-occupied France in a single movie, could he?

Overall: 6/10 - On reflection, it's a good film. But, it really drags in places. A whole chapter in German, on a game of "Who am I?" and who has the worst German accent...I actually considered walking out until a gun was pulled. Still - it's alright, maybe even worth the DVD extras.

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