Okay. I have to admit my bias before you read the review…I am (even amongst the bitter judgment of some peers – i.e.: R.L.) a self admitted Tarantinophile. With that being said…the review of Inglourious Basterds:
*Spoilers ensue, so if you haven’t seen it, read at your own peril.
A little apprehensive for the outcome, yet school-girlishly excited for the newest Tarantino offering, we arrived to our seats just as the first scene had started rolling. Ironically, we saw this Nazi-bashing (at the hands of Jewish-Americans) at a Squirrel Hill theatre. As Wikipedia puts it, Squirrel Hill is “…the geographic hub of the Jewish Community…” in Pittsburgh – which added to the hype I had already created for the film in my head. The opening scene was tense. Just from the first few minutes you had a sense that this wasn’t your typical Quentin film. The attention to every detail was there. The intelligent banter and dialogue was there. However, there was something different. A sense of, dare I say, new found maturity. If ever there was a time for Tarantino to find a sense of maturity, it would be when a family of Jews was hiding in a farmhouse basement from the Nazi SS. The cinematography was brilliant. Panning the room, panning down to the hiding family and back. I’m usually pretty good with catching plot tricks, but when Col. Landa changed languages to English so the Jewish family couldn’t understand him, I totally missed it…brilliant. I gasped when he explained what he had done to the simple Frenchman farmer. I hated him, exactly what was intended.
On to Brad Pitt. While most likely not an Oscar worthy film, Pitt’s performance was the exact reason I think he is the Clark Gable or our time. From the pothead couch surfer in True Romance to his portrayal of Lt, Aldo Raine, he has always been a man’s man. He can be rough, he can be comical and he can steal a performance. While he had, what I thought was, limited screen presence, he was the main and central character that tied the story together – and his Italian accent? Buon Giorno! (?)
Such a long movie, and I don’t want to write a novel about the film. The first inkling I had that it was a Tarantino film was when the Basterds were shown for the first time in field “dismantling” the Germans. The bat scene. The drawn out sound of a bat hitting a wall, eerily similar to the long police gun shot scene in “House of a 1000 Corpses”, was chilling. The audience and the German officer knew what was coming. Fortunately, we were on the other side of the screen, but the defining moment was when they identified Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz. The 70’s font plastered on the screen and the still frame. Classic Tarantino. There he is.
But not to drag on or give too much away. I was impressed by a few other things. Too many memorable scenes to recount here but… A cameo by Mike Meyers, the David Bowie interlude, the radio call at the end by Lawrence Tierney (who played the mastermind Joe Cabot in Reservoir Dogs) and if you were observant enough… the camera in one of the final scenes in the projection booth reads “Dresden”. Pending the outcome of the film, if you know the symbolism of the city of Dresden in WWII, it is very symbolic. Kudos to Tarantino for that one. If I wasn’t a war buff, I never would have caught it. Let’s just say it has to do with a lot of fire. Any Vonnegut readers out there?
But the highlight of the film for me, which was in total Quentin style, was the lover’s shootout in the projection booth. You knew he had a gun. You knew he was going to shoot her. It is the onus of the director to show us such an anticipated moment as we’ve never seen it before – and this may have been the penultimate scene of his career (in my eyes). Beautiful. The cinematography, the music, the everything…
If you have seen it, send us your comments. If not, shame on you for reading this… but go see it. It’s definitely up there with Dogs, Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction. It’s almost a new found Tarantino, but not really.
Check out the official site here: http://www.inglouriousbasterds-movie.com/