INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

21 08 2009

With Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino has pulled off his best movie since Jackie Brown. It’s actually my third favorite now behind Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs (I do have a soft spot for JB but this one so far takes the third place). The movie is a about American soldiers killing Nazis on Nazi occupied France during WWII. It seems simple and it couldn’t be any simpler than that. Tarantino however makes this movie deep using other stories within the main one. And he does that with class and shitload of cool dialogue. The characters here are first class as usual. I first thought that Brad Pitt would be bad in this part but he was actually perfect in it. He was like a redneck version of Clark Gable in a war movie. Cool but not exactly suave. He pulled off the accent perfectly and he was given some of the best lines in the movie, like: “We in the Nazi killing business… and cousin… business is a-booming.” That’s priceless and I guess as a statement to Tarantino’s talent that line was even funner on the actual movie than on the trailer. The fact that it was in the trailer and not spoiled when you watched it in the movie is quite amazing to me. That’s certainly rare.

But if this movie is a statement to his qualities as a writer/director than his gift for dialogue would be the biggest star here. There’s a shitload of long scenes, which allows him to throw amazing one-liners and small little speeches. Having so many long scenes like this is not something that many people can get away with as it can easily get boring and you feel like they might be only stylistic but not really necessary for the development of the story. Not here. The long scenes have a purpose, to build suspense and he does that better than he ever did in any other of his movies. And that’s saying a lot based on the quality his previous work. PF and RD are masterpieces and both Kill Bills and Death Proof are incredible examples of self-indulgence. They were an ode to style and coolness that QT can pull off really well, which is not bad but not necessarily great. In IB he pulls of the perfect balance between style and story. Part of this movie, as his last movies have been (and one could say that to maybe all of them), is a homage to certain classic genres and sub-genres. He uses all the right clichés and makes them entertaining still.

Going back to the long scenes and dialogue, there is not one moment where that dialogue doesn’t flow naturally and involves you deeply. QT is so good at this that you can’t help but put yourself in the place of the characters and feel for them as you get more attached to their stories. The suspense is built masterfully and perhaps even a little too often. In the tradition of great villains the one on this movie steals the show. Austrian actor Christopher Waltz does one hell of a job as Col. Hans Landa. His bad guy’s psyche is pretty simple: he’s a fucking Nazi on WWII! Therefore he’s a maniac, and a very charming one. He has some of the best scenes and lines. I felt that more than half of the movie is spoken in either French or German (with English subtitles), which is really ballsy since here in the USA people are not used to subtitles and don’t seem to care for it. It just made the movie a whole lot stronger and deep.

One of the reviews on the tv spots for Ingloruious Basterds said that this was Tarantino’s most entertaining movie yet and I thought that was just hype. But it really is that. But it’s not entertainment for entertainment’s sake… well, sometimes it is but it’s all backed up by a loft talent so, who cares? And while all Tarantino movies had a great amount of humor this one seems to be part comedy as much as anything else and it just made the movie more interesting. This movie was worth the wait and seems to have lived the hype. I shall watch it again. This pompous review ends here and lemme conclude by saying that I loved this movie whole-heartedly.

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