Friday, April 16, 2010

Inglourious Basterds

Oh, Inglourious Basterds, you horribly violent and amazing film. Now, that was a dramatic experience. Never has people sitting at a table and talking for twenty minutes ever felt so tense and so action packed.

I almost wish the director, Quentin Tarantino, didn't have to yank us out of these magnificent scenes. Knowing that it's Tarantino behind the lens of these beautifully directed and acted conversations is what makes it even greater. At any moment, the S is going to hit the F and I could feel my pulse quickening as the stakes rise and the moment of truth inches closer.

There are probably five different scenes of dialogue in this film that if you pluck them out and set them in another movie would have been the climax of that film. The tension is literally exhausting and I found that when the violence finally comes, it's a welcome relief. It was like, phew, they mowed each other down with machine guns, I feel so much better now.

Yes, when the violence comes it is graphic. Tarantino pulls no punches on the visuals. More than the visuals, though, what really got me was who dies and how they die. Do not get attached to any character. One minute they are the focal point of the film and the next they are lying on the ground in a pool of their own blood and you are left thinking, what, huh, did that really just happen?

Christoph Waltz deserves another ten best supporting Oscars for his role as the "Jew Hunter". He's tremendous. The last major conversation between him and Brad Pitt where he is just giddy with excitement over the prospects of what he is proposing is one of the best acting jobs I've ever seen.

Being a Tarantino fan, I did see many of his storytelling techniques at work. There's the jumping view points to start the film that slowly coalesce into one big finale. Then there is the crazy shootout that seems to come out of nowhere although he's just spent the last twenty minutes of the film building to it. These signature stamps of his are amazing but I am starting to see them repeated a bit too often in his films.

Those little quibbles aside, Inglourious Basterds is a masterpiece of cinema. It's a workshop in screenplay writing and directing. There are scenes here that will be studied by film students for decades and even then they still may never know exactly how Tarantino pulled them off so brilliantly.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...I think we actually agree for once. This is an amazing, amazing, amazing film.