Review #5 – Inglourious Basterds

As I sat down to Re-watch Inglourious Bastereds (I saw it about 4 weeks ago) I got a text. This was the conversation that ensued:
Me: And now (I’m watching)… Inglourious Basterds
LOS: I thought it was good but didn’t live up to expectations
Me: 10 yrs of work and his “Masterpeice”? Woefully short. Good none the less.
LOS: I actually don’t like Tarantino much lately. IB redeemed him slightly in my opinion.
Me: He peaked at Pulp Fiction – hard to go back to that.
LOS: True. Maybe you’ll disagree, but IB had more of a Coen Bros. vibe then Tarantino
Me: Scriptwise: Yes. Dramatically: Yes – But Quentin can’t build the drama the way they do. If they had this script, it would still be 2 hrs 33 min, but better. Much, much better.
LOS: Can’t argue with that logic.
Me: He throws in the dialogue between action, prefers jump cuts and no sense of true drama.
LOS: I think his use of violence is starting to work against him.
Me: Yes, but he has no other place to go. He isn’t skilled enough.

That synopsizes the film pretty well.

I am not going to lie, I like Tarantino. He writes natural dialogue well. He shoots films well. He works well with the talent. All around, he does everything well. Just not superb, like a man who has spent the last solid 25 years of his life to absorbing, watching, writing and creating films.

I love a good wwII film; I have a soft spot in my heart for The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen (Both of with influenced Tarantino in this) but I only liked this film. It was epic, grandiose, larger then life – fiction from the get go, yes, but still well written. And it is known that Tarantino already won an oscar for best Original screenplay, so he is very capable of writing another. The thing that bothers me, however – is the predictability of Tarantino now. A movie of one person hunting down a group? Uma Thurmon in Kill Bill/Col Landa. A group letting an individual to “tell the Story” after everyone else is killed? Natural Born Killers (Though he had his credit removed) and The Basterds. His strange foot fetish? Every single movie (The Foot Massage Discussion, Big Toe in Kill Bill, the shoe in Inglourious Basterds, From Dusk ‘Til Dawn… I am sure you have some of your own too)

The Point is: the habitual elements, including violence – they are detracting away from the film for me.

The best part I remember from me first viewing is Col Hans Landa (Played by Christoph Waltz) and how he seamlessly and comfortably transitioned from English to German to French to Italian. Along with the rest of his character, he was the brightest spot in the entire film, overshadowing the other characters with a brilliance you see from the very beginning.

Quentin has been calling this film his “Masterpiece”. 10 years, multiple re-writes in the making. When I think of Masterpiece, my mind goes to some of the greats: John Ford directing “Grapes of Wrath”. Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”. The yardstick for any true masterpiece, in my mind, is Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather”. Where does this measure up to “The Godfather”? Woefully short. Though this might be the very masterpiece of Tarantino’s career, I would say it hardly is a masterpiece overall. My basic feeling is that this film is worth a look, and is highly entertaining, but by far not the best film from the best director with the best script.

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