Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pose Reviews A Movie. #7: Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Don't let the name fool you. It's actually pretty glorious.

Yep. Quentin Tarantino is back--this time, tackling a new genre for his growing catalogue of homages: the war film.

But this one doesn't really feel like a war film. To be honest, it feels more like Tarantino's other five movies parachuted into Nazi-occupied France and made a new film.

But it works.

First, there's the irresistible dialogue. I know, I know, every film critic, fanboy and video store clerk praise Tarantino for his scriptwriting skills, but for damn good reason! The man knows how to write--not just catchy lines and phrases, but entire CHARACTERS.

For example, one of the highlights of Inglourious Basterds is, by far, Christoph Waltz's portrayal of SS Colonel Hans Landa, the slimy yet weirdly charismatic "Jew Hunter." But his performance is such a hit because he has great lines to deliver. Same with Brad Pitt's portrayal of U.S. Lieutenant Aldo Raines--good acting, great lines.

The writing is not the only thing that Inglourious Basterds has going for it though--the film also does a great job of constructing suspense. The tension in some of these scenes can be cut with the soldiers' own knives, and it's AWESOME. But let's face it--at two and a half hours, it kind of has to be, doesn't it?

The only trouble I had with Tarantino's latest effort is that it's...well...a little self-indulgent. The man is clearly a cinematic genius, we get it--but do you have to reuse the same songs from the Kill Bills? Do you really need to give us a "History of Tarantino in Typeface" in the first three minutes? (If you notice, he re-uses the fonts from just about all of his previous films in the opening credits--maybe it takes a geek to notice that, but it also takes a geek to do it). And do you really need to include Brad Pitt delivering what are essentially just Uma Thurman's lines from Kill Bill Vol. 1 about the value of leaving someone alive and disfigured to send a message to your enemies?

Style is one thing--but self-plagiarism is quite another.

That said, however, it's still a really solid movie. So solid, in fact, that my MOTHER even liked it. And I'm sure you will too.


Oh, and the cameo by Mike Myers almost makes you forget that he made The Love Guru.

Just sayin'.

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