Friday, August 28, 2009

Inglourious Basterds: B

Inglourious-basterds-members, originally uploaded by ashleyashhh.


Scott and I saw Inglourious Basterds last weekend. I can't claim to be the most devoted Quentin Tarantino fan because I still have not gotten around to seeing Death Proof/Grindhouse or Jackie Brown, but Pulp Fiction is one of my all-time favorites and I loved both Kill Bills.

Besides the over-the-top visual gimmicks and music references, Tarantino's signature filmmaking style are long, two-person conversation scenes. Basterds' first chapter is a long scene of a Nazi officer's conversation with a little-spoken French farmer. It's a great opening scene with so much suspense as to what direction Tarantino is going to take the scene.

Basterds is surprising linear in its storytelling with only a couple of flashbacks and fewer tricks to keep the audience off-guard. The movie is still Tarantino but more conventional and less suspenseful carnival ride than his other movies. Since the movie counts each chapter, I sighed a little at each new chapter as I wondered if the title card was a warning of another long scene.

Like his other movies, Basterds is about criminals and gangsters who operate with some type of moral character or philosophy -- just instead of gangsters or assassins, this movie has a band of Army/OSS insurgents and a holocaust survivor versus Nazi war criminals. [WARNING: MINOR SPOILER ALREADY DISCLOSED IN MANY OTHER REVIEWS.] Tarantino took some far-fetched liberties in his historical recreation and made a revenge fantasy. Although I prefer movies to be historically accurate, this movie does have a satisfying ending.

Overall, a good movie with fun performances, but probably not the best Tarantino movie. Brad Pitt's accent grew on me. Mike Myers' over-the-top cameo made what would have otherwise been a uninteresting scene watchable. But it's the relatively unknown actors (at least to US audiences) like Christoph Waltz and Mélanie Laurent that stood-out to me.

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