Friday, 22 January 2010

Review - Inglourious Basterds

Warning - here be spoilers!

In a nutshell:- Tarantino turns to old-fashioned war films for inspiration this time with mixed results.

The Basics:- It's a film that Quentin Tarantino has been threatening to make for about 14 years, every time he's been interviewed about what's coming up next after Pulp Fiction so there's already a weight of expectation there. It's his tribute to the war film and in particular the Italian war films which were shot much in the same as spaghetti westerns (one of which - Inglorious Bastards with the proper spelling - it takes it's name from; supposedly a markedly different plot though). The film a squad of Jewish Allied soldiers fighting their way through Germany and of a plot to assassinate Hitler centred around a French cinema.

The Good:- It has, as you would come to expect, a sense of style about it and moments of the same sort of bleakly violent humour that you'd come to expect from Tarantino. Also, his trademark use of music he has a personal fondness for is still present. The performances are generally good with the standout performance going to Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa, the over-the-top SS Colonel.

The Bad:- It contains at least three major scenes, including the opening scene, which go on for far longer than they need to. I appreciate that he's trying to build dramatic tension in those scenes but he drags them out far past the point of tension and, as such, loses it. He could comfortably trim about 30 minutes out of the film and it would be a much more satisfying experience. Also, it just feels a bit simplistic with the whole concept of a Jewish revenge squad. It becomes apparent, too, by the end of the film that this doesn't bear any relation to history as we know it, making it a sort of alternate reality film and, as that's not how it's presented from the start, it feels a bit odd.

The Verdict:- It may seem from the above that I didn't enjoy it. Not so, I did enjoy it but with the reservations mentioned above. It's slightly too slow for what it is and it's got an ending that feels strange and somehow a little bit like cheating. I'm glad I watched it but I'm not a hundred percent sure if I'd recommend it. And that's about all I can say about it. On the plus side, it was nowhere near as boring as Death Proof, I guess.

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