Film Reviews

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS

By • Sep 2nd, 2009 •

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Tarantino’s ‘Masterpiece’ is not quite; but it’s still one of the best films of the summer.

For Tarantino fans BASTERDS has been the anticipatory film of the year. I know; I’ve followed it since its earliest IMDB rumors, (there was a point where Adam Sandler was attached). For me, Tarantino was a key filmmaker who got me to look deeper into movies and the work of other filmmakers. He eventually inspired and influenced my own films over the last six years. In these times, a Tarantino film is an event that sports high expectations.

The opening credits alone are enough to make one tear up, inflecting a beautiful ‘Tarantinoesque’ Western nostalgia. In doing so, he makes a nod to himself, saying “yes, I’m back.” The first scene is a fantastic face-to-face dialogue scene that pits Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) delivering scrumptious pages of Tarantino poetry which reminded me of the Christopher Walken monologue from TRUE ROMANCE. Waltz steals the film in four different languages and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a Best Supporting Actor nod come Oscar season. Standing opposite is Pitt, who is not always firing on all cylinders. BASTERDS was an openly rushed production and I think some of Pitt’s scenes reflect that.

In DEATH PROOF it seemed that Tarantino had wrapped himself up so much in his own style that it became a caricature of itself. BASTERDS made me feel that way about certain musical cues, but despite that, it also has some incredibly memorable moments that may become among your favorites in the ‘Tarantino Cannon’. You wouldn’t think a David Bowie song would work in a period war film, but it’s the perfect example of something the director does best.

Ironically, what works against BASTERDS is its epic quality. The multiple story lines don’t lend themselves to each other and some chapters tend to be long-winded and lack the kind of evocative dialogue that we’ve become used to. For a film called INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, I was expecting to see more of the basterds, but the film tends to stretch each section a little thin. Its climactic scene invokes a kind of demonic CINEMA PARADISO, a brilliant showcase of the power of cinema and how powerfully it outlives us and is unforgettable. Is it a masterpiece? Definitely not. I think PULP FICTION is and always will stand as his best film. Regardless, it’s a wildly original, style-fueled event, one well worth viewing, maybe even a few times.

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One Response »

  1. The first scene is an obvious take off on the operatic introduction of Lee Van Cleef in Good, Bad and Ugly, just elongated and embellished. What bothered me about IB was QT’s marketing approach and his talk show appearances touting the scalping and Dirty Dozen action plot when there is very little of that. I still enjoyed the film despite its non-epic scope.

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