8.25.2009

Thoughts on Inglourious Basterds?

I thoroughly enjoyed the film and plan to see it again. I liked it even more than I hoped I would. For one thing, the way scenes were stretched out, letting the tension build and build... I didn't know movies knew how to do that anymore (the first scene was especially brilliant in this way).

For another, something about the violence didn't bother me. I find myself more disturbed by film violence nowadays, but this -- gory as it was -- was sufficiently cartoony to never let me forget I was watching a Hollywood film. Compare to violence in The Hurt Locker, for example -- there I winced. In IB I was cheering.

Third, Christoph Waltz is going to be a big star in this country now. I hope he wins an Oscar. The Nazis in general were really well done. The Frankfurt Allegemaine said the portrayal of Nazis was spot on: "...as the pompous trash they were." A German friend of mine loved it, but thinks the German-dubbed version in Germany won't translate as well. She saw it in Holland, where they just subtitle.

After Grindhouse, I wasn't sure what to expect from Tarantino. Would he continue down the road of parody to self-parody? Thankfully the answer seems to be no. This is a mature effort and a thrilling piece of filmmaking.

5 comments:

Trevor Jackson said...

Agreed on all points, particularly the tension and Waltz.

I liked Grindhouse, but this was QT's best flick since Jackie Brown. And his least violent film since JB, too.

Here there be spoilers, such as they are:

What I think was so great was how my expectations were upended. I thought I was going to see a movie about the Basterds, a crack-guerrilla Jewish strike force smashing Nazis with bats. Instead, the Basterds are practically non-existent and, in 2 out of the 3 chapters where they're featured at all, incompetent at anything but brutality.

Instead, the movie becomes, in part, a pretty interesting exploration of our relationship with movies. It's no small thing to feel angry at Germans applauding the slaughter of Americans by the sniper Zoller, only to moments later watch them get mowed down by Eli Roth (who can't fucking act) and his fellow Basterd.

Finally, can I just for a moment express my crush on Melanie Laurent? That shot where she smokes by the giant eye-window is soooo self-conscious (as are a lot of the movie's shots), but still a lovely tableau.

Word on seeing it again.

cfp said...

I totally and completely hated Deathproof--the most boring movie that ever made me feel sick inside. Yeah, I know it was high-concept. Whatever.

You think I'd feel differently about this one? I am weary of the way this movie could so easily use the nazism of its victims for a purpose that is morally disgusting in its own right. I'm not going to spend much time railing against that, but neither do I want to put $9 and 3 hours towards it.

I miss cartoon violence. There seems to be a sadism that has crept into horror and action over the last decade. That's what I have trouble with, really.

Grendel said...

This is the opposite of Deathproof. Really, it's not sadistic or aggressive or juvenile. I thought it would be. It's a movie about being in love with movies, as Trevor notes. I'm sorry if I turn out to be wrong, but I think you'll enjoy it a lot and recommend going while it's in theaters. Why? Audience reaction.

cfp said...

You actually already pretty much convinced me. Your concerns seem to have been so similar to mine that your rec is really persuasive. Don't feel bad, though, if I don't like it!

cfp said...

Saw it; loved it. Thanks for making the case. I found it weirdly humane. I want to think more on why that is and then maybe I'll write more.