Inglourious Basterds has once again proven that Quentin Tarantino is one of the best directors of our generation. It was a phenomenal movie, surpassing Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 2, and perhaps Death Proof (By a hair, in my opinion. I loved Death Proof.). I think Pulp Fiction still wins out as his best film, although I will have to watch IB a few more times to have an educated opinion.
Tarantino delivered in all the areas that you would expect him to. The dialogue was great (the vast majority of it being in other languages), albeit different from the other films since this movie was set in the 1940s—no conversations about Quarter Pounders or Superman mythology this time around. Brad Pitt provided wonderful comic relief as Aldo Raine, with that hilarious Tennessee accent that everyone’s been talking about. In my opinion, though, Christoph Waltz (Col. Hans Landa) totally stole the show. His performance of Tarantino dialogue is up there with that of Samuel L. Jackon. He’ll get an Oscar nomination, and has a pretty good shot of winning.
There was a lot of buzz about the “tavern scene,” whose dialogue and subsequent action sequence was supposed to rival the diner and ending scenes of Reservior Dogs. As of the first viewing, I think Reservior Dogs still wins out. But, like I said, I will be watching this movie many more times in the coming months (although I’ll have to wait for the DVD…I can’t afford to see movies in the theater more than once anymore).
There was a healthy mix of action/violence and down time. And when the action did ensue, it was pretty awesome. The Basterds’ combat tactics were badass, although the scalping of Nazis did get a bit graphic, along with a few other choice scenes. Aside from that, the movie wasn’t really filled with gratuitous violence. Another thing to note is the filmmaking in general—lots of great camera movements, including an aerial shot spanning multiple rooms a la Kill Bill.
The music was pretty good, although I prefer the soundtracks to both Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. A lot of the score came from Ennio Morricone, and certain snippets were lifted straight from Kill Bill. Michael wasn’t a fan of the David Bowie song used at the end (Cat People [Putting out the Fire]); I didn’t really have a strong opinion on that, but the title is pretty applicable to say the least.
I wish I was enough of a film buff to see the relationship between this movie and Sergio Leone’s brand of spaghetti westerns. Tarantino’s movies are always paying homage to other genres and sub-genres of film (martial arts, exploitation films, crime films, etc.), although most of this film was over my head in that regard.
Any critic who said that the climax didn’t deliver is out of his mind. The climax was ridiculous, and I guarantee no one has ever written an ending like that to a WWII movie. One of my favorite scenes was definitely the face projected through the smoke, for anyone else who saw the movie.
All in all, I loved this movie, and I’ve probably only absorbed about 60% of its greatness so far. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the DVD release, which will probably make a great birthday or Christmas present!
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