Movie Review: ‘Inglourious Basterds’Published by Clay Cane on Friday, August 21, 2009 at 9:00 am.
Summary: Set in World War II, Jewish-American soldiers are on a mission to kill as many Nazis as possible. Caught up in the mix is a French-Jewish woman who is also seeking revenge for the Nazis killing her family.
Review: There is no denying that Quentin Tarantino is a genius. He is a gifted writer and director who has changed the world of cinema. Sure, his films don’t always translate but by the end of every Tarantino movie you know something clever happened — you’re just not exactly sure what. The good thing about Tarantino is that the audience knows what to expect: endless dialogue, perfect cinematic style, lack of editing, smart one-liners, superb acting, nothing tying together until the last 40 minutes and by the end, a movie that is so towering you just have to like it.
Inglourious Basterds is no different. Even with its fatiguing scenes and non-linear plotline there is still a cunning, edgy and solid film floating around in Tarantino’s world — a movie that could’ve been much better if an hour of the 153-minute running time was shaved off. I can’t help but wonder if this film would be as acceptable if this was Quentin Tarantino’s first effort and he was just any other unknown filmmaker? But I digress…
Although I know what to expect when experiencing Tarantino, one trait I have never been able to get past is his obsession with babbling dialogue; Inglourious Basterds has more than enough of it. It’s almost like watching stuffy dramatic theater with the writers more concerned about showing off their knack for vocabulary than an interesting storyline. Scene after scene, characters are chatting the running time away. If anyone yapped this much in person you would interrupt them with a bathroom break and never return. Tarantino knows this is something that critics hate. I can only assume he does this dialogue to piss everyone off and with each movie it gets even more excessive. So, if that is the case — job well done, QT!
Basterds is set around the Holocaust and Tarantino uses his filmmaking powers to avenge the Nazis via a female heroine (Mélanie Lauren) and a country Jewish lieutenant (Brad Pitt). This is a plus to the film, regardless of the flaws. QT bullseyes a fictional take on destroying Nazis. Not surprisingly, each actor nails their character and even though he has a small role, the one Black actor, Jacky Ido, who is in love with Lauren’s character, is a central force to the plot and makes his quick role memorable.
In typical Tarantino style, the timeline shifts and bounces, chapter after chapter you are in a new land, following these characters that eventually end up in the same location with the same goal. The goal is cataclysmic with an operatic and tragic ending, smoothed over by Tarantino’s raunchy camp.
Although Inglourious Basterds is not the best representation of Tarantino’s genius, he can do no wrong, even if it is sometimes misguided and laborious.
Inglourious Basterds is in theaters today.