I’m not as big a fan of Quentin Tarantino as most people are. I enjoy his movies but I find that Tarantino as a writer is often more successful than Tarantino as a director. I think Pulp Fiction, his most widely praised film, suffers from not having a real plot, being perhaps too character driven and Kill Bill was mostly forgettable. Reservoir Dogs is my favorite Tarantino movie and that’s where my experience with his filmmaking ends.
Inglourious Basterds is his newest film and this is what I think about it.
As with most Tarantino films, Inglourious Basterds contains a healthy dose of dark humor, is broken up into sizeable chunks and is very character and dialogue driven. It’s also within that last bit in particular that I feel the movie suffers the most: it has just way too much dialogue. Great, compelling dialogue but too much of it nonetheless. It got to a point where I just wanted the movie to end already and I think this could’ve been easily remedied by cutting some excess dialogue, good as it may be. I think Tarantino was perhaps being too self-indulgent with his writing here.
That’s really my biggest (only?) issue with the movie, everything else was quite good. This is my favorite Brad Pitt performance since “12 Monkeys” and I can’t even begin to talk about the acting in this movie without mentioning Christoph Waltz. As Col. Hans Landa, he plays the quintessential bad guy that you just love to hate. I haven’t seen this level of psychological torture executed in such flawless manner since Anthony Hopkins’ Dr. Lecter. Unfortunately, the work of these two actors casts a large shadow that engulfs any other actor or actress in the film, which makes what could’ve been an otherwise great performance seem that less memorable.
Also worth mentioning, and one of the more interesting aspects of the movie to me, is that it takes place in some sort of alternate version of WWII. I assumed that the story was fictional but I also assumed that Hitler and his minions (haha) would get out of the theater alive in the final act to meet their respective real world demises. How wrong was I in this assumption. I don’t know if Tarantino just had a story about assassination in mind and decided to set it in WWII to avoid the hassles of fleshing out the world around it (after all, WWII is pretty established and black and white for most people, i.e. Nazis = Bad, Americans = Good) or if he just didn’t feel like being restrained by historical accuracy. Either way, I found this aspect of Inglourious Basterds to be quite refreshing.
I’m still not sure as to where I’d place this movie relative to Tarantino’s other films. It was really good and I enjoyed watching it but I think the glut of dialogue and the drawn out scenes would honestly make me cringe before I sit to watch it a second time.Posted on September 05, 2009 in Movies, Reviews |