But the guy can make one kick ass film.
I know what you’re thinking: “All Tarantino Movies are the same: lots of retro-references, tons of gratuitous violence, one or two catchy songs, a come-from-nowhere sex scene and one or two headliners as actors”.
Well, about Inglorious Basterds, you would be right. Now, obviously to have the aforementioned qualifiers would make Mr. Tarantino’s work BAD for some people and GOOD for some others.
Well I happen to like his films (some would say a little too much) but what I saw today surpassed my expectations in a very good way. The Tarantino trademarks (as I call them) were all there but there was a maturity to the film that I knew would arrive some day. I began pick up on this evolution upon seeing Jackie Brown, but then lost it watching the Kill Bill saga.
I think the maturity is back and if there’s any fairness in the movie-making world, QT will start being recognized as a serious director and artist after the Basterds. .
Inglorious Basterds is a period piece set during the Nazi occupation of France and because of the way that Tarantino and his crew treated it and shot it, you will never lose track of the setting of the film. Most people know that the main difficulty with period pieces is to keep the viewer engaged and believing they’re watching something that took place may years ago but the film overcomes this obstacle with ease.
The intertwining of story lines and characters and the Chapter separation are also a Q-trademark but treated with a lot more seriousness and with (dare I say it?) a more grown-up perspective. It is not bestowed upon the viewer to keep track of the story this time (although I enjoy that) instead, the story is fluid and coherent, it is placed inside your brain with simplicity and straightforwardness. When it comes to the writing, I would say that Jackie Brown remains the queen but the Basterds are not too far behind.
There’s also the comedy. Quentin’s sense of humor is dark and exotic in all his films, (some may even call it a little ‘manic’) but the Basterds gave him an opportunity to write funnies more than showing them, this accounted for some cleverly written stuff. While I feel like my brain is going to melt for saying this, Brad Pitt is actually really good in the film and his character Aldo, is one of the funniest.
The Tarantino “rules” have been broken, well some of them at least. Remember the time when no music would be used in a QT film without an identifiable source (i.e car stereo or jukebox), well those days are gone but the catchy, unexpected (even apparently misplaced) tunes are very much still there.
The director’s use of subtitles (as well as non-conspicuous lines that EXPLAIN why the character is about to speak English instead of the language they should be speaking) is another trademark, but it is one of my favorites, think about it, when watching a film, you the viewer, are in charge of the sub-titles and captions, when an important character appears on screen, you automatically go: “Ah, that’s so and so and he is the butler”; Mr. Tarantino does that for you in a very dramatic sort of way. Some people find that annoying. I find people that think that annoying.
In summary, Inglorious Basterds is a very well made film, absolutely worth the time and effort to watch and more importantly, in my opinion, an opportunity to re-discover Quentin Tarantino as an artist. For the ones that love his work, a pleasant experience of growth and for the ones that dislike him, an occasion for a second chance. The ones more benefited by the latest Tarantino iteration are the ones that don’t have an opinion of him as a Director, as they will become members of the “like him” group after watching this movie.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the gratuitous violence. Deal with it! The world is full of gratuitous violence (the real kind) and if you only want to see bunnies and rainbows you are in the wrong planet (or at least living among the wrong species).
Inglorious Basterds rocks! Go see it.