Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Quentin Tarantino. I liked RESERVOIR DOGS, PULP FICTION and JACKIE BROWN when Tarantino seemed to have real control of his material. I even enjoyed KILL BILL 1 & 2 because it was a genuine homage to a genre that Tarantino loves and understands - it was a knowing conversation with others who enjoy the films it was referencing. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is my least favourite QT film. This is not to say its badly made - individual scenes are very well directed - especially some of the Hitchcockian stuff towards the end - but the problem is that none of it holds together. There are two films here and the fight against one another ultimately beat each other to death. The first is a crude DIRTY DOZEN parody with Brad Pitt leading a group of scalp hunting Jewish soldiers behind enemy lines to kill and demoralize the Nazis. Where Robert Aldrich (for all the questional tone of his film) built his story slowly QT leaps from recruiting talk to action without taking a breath. The characters are shallow comic book cut outs badly drawn and in Brad Pitt's case ludicrously over acted. Yes, I know it is fantasy comic book stuff and perhaps it wouldn't matter too much if the other story, which is padded out by these scenes, isn't a rather tight little Hitchcock thriller involving the manageress of a Paris cinema's plot to wipe out the German high command (including Hitler himself who seems to have wandered in from THE PRODUCERS). Linking the two is Christopher Waltz as an SS officer giving a performance that quite probably dererved the Oscar it earned him. So its very much up and down. A parody, a straight thriller, a comedy, a homage (the film's opening scene seems to be parodying THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY unless I'm mistaken) and ending up as a bit of a shapeless mess. There are lots of references to pre-war German and wartime French cinema (Clouzot's LE CORBEAU is showing at the cinema) and Emil Jannings turns up briefly as a character. A final rather sad observation is the glee with which American soldiers are shown graphically scalping and beating nazis to death with baseball bats. This has little to do with jews taking revenge and is rather Americans acting like nazis (without any of the irony inherent in Aldrich's DOZEN). Modern parallels spring to mind but I doubt if Tarantino intended that. He just enjoyed it. Rating **


Cerpts said...

You're right about the disjointed nature of the film. I too found it to consist of many wonderful scenes but the movie itself didn't seem to be one complete narrative. Waltz definitely deserved his Oscar, you're right about that too. His character is now one of my favourites among QT's films. However, I'd have to watch it a couple more times to decide definitively whether it's my least favourite Tarantino movie. Currently (on my blog) I list my preferences with JACKIE BROWN at the top followed by RESERVOIR DOGS, KILL BILL, PULP FICTION, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and DEATH PROOF at the bottom. Now, I really like DEATH PROOF but something has to be last, right? However, I shall in the near future rewatch both BASTERDS and DEATH PROOF and see which one ultimately ends up at the bottom of my list.

Weaverman said...

I actually prefer DEATH PROOF because it knew where it was going. Not a great film, not even great Tarantino but for me it worked better than BASTERDS. I want a Tarantino western.

OnlyLostBunny said...

I love Jack black. Inglorious Bastards was ok. Kill Bill is amazing. Tarantino did that film.

Cerpts said...

OK then.

I have just watched DEATH PROOF and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS on consecutive nights here at work (yeah, I know ... it's a tough job but someone's gotta do it). And yes I have come to my final conclusion now.

But first, after rewatching INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS I re-agree about the disjointedness of the film, about the slightly silly Hitler and the deservedness of Waltz's Oscar. However, Brad Pitt's performance... while definitely "large" ... I didn't find to be outrageously over the top . . . simply because over here I have actually come across several guys who actually act like that in real life. And they're not even in a war scalping Nazis. They act like that when the 7-11 is out of Cola Slurpees. So, when looked at from that angle, Pitt's actually kinda subtle LOL. If you can believe it. And YES, the people who acted like that in real life DID drive Trans Ams. And also I wanted to mention that, while the Basterds' nasty violence is kinda understandable considering what the Nazis had done, I did also find it to be at the same time uncomfortable to watch. But there is a place deep down that may want to have done the same thing whereas the larger part of me finds the ruthless bloodthirstiness of the Basterds offputting.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for: yes, I have switched the order and place DEATH PROOF above INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS for the simple reason that DEATH PROOF is just more fun to watch and something I will rewatch a lot more than BASTERDS.

Weaverman said...

Told ya!