Sunday, January 31, 2010

Inglourious Bastards

I gave up on Quentin Tarantino years ago, sometime after he produced Hostel. While I thought Reservoir Dogs was brilliant and Pulp Fiction inspired, later works seemed more and more self-indulgent.

And I hate self-indulgence in art.

Artists who really labor over their craft, and who aspire to improve and progress don't have time for self-indulgence. Like blacksmiths, they toil over small details that make the whole product better. It's when artists become famous, wealthy and sassy that they have time to paint self-portraits. The art shifts to them, because they think the consumers of art want a peek behind the curtain.

Tarantino loves himself. And that effects the outcome of his work. He's that guy at the party who talks about himself all night long, trying desperately to fill the conversation with inside jokes and clever banter that makes sense only to him. The discussion is always and only about him. The fact you're standing there face-to-face is irrelevant.

I always walk away from that guy at the party. Just like I usually walk away from Tarantino.

So, it was with some trepidation that I watched Inglourious Bastards. While I expected tight dialogue and a fast-paced plot--those qualities are nearly always present in a Tarantio flick--I anticipated an immature perspective on the Holocaust, a subject which should be treated with mature reflection and respect.

I was overwhelmingly surprised.

The fictional story of multiple plots to kill Hitler during the Nazi occupation of France was compelling, complex, and interesting. Tarantino's technique in telling the story, especially his use of background music during scenes of most importance, made for a remarkable viewing experience. The acting of Christoph Waltz as Col. Landa really sold this film to me, while Brad Pitt's Lt. Raine was the perfect embodiment of the American perspective on the war.

I admit it: I loved this movie. God help me, I'm paying attention to Tarantino again.


Paige said...

I was exactly the same way. Reservoir Dogs was a masterpiece as far as I was concerned. Pulp Fiction was brilliant, although the incredible level of hype surrounding it put me off a bit. But I had found him irritating since then. Inglorious Basterds, however, reminded me why he got so much attention to start with.

crystal dawn said...

I like the fact that he used subtitles and kept the characters true to their language for most of the film. During the first scene when Col. Landa asked to speak in English, I thought, "oh ok, now Tarantino is going to turn off the subtitles." But it was on purpose, so that those who were hiding could understand him. I thought the film was good, and really portrayed the time period as it was. I predict a win for best supporting actor for Waltz and that's prolly it. Screenplay maybe, but that will most likely go to Up in the Air.

All Click said...

woah! Spoiler alert in your comments from Crystal Dawn! lol

Anyway, I rented this a couple of nights ago and had a similar reaction to you. I went in extremely skeptical and came out liking the movie. Although I thought the soundtrack was hit and miss. A Spanish guitar in German occupied France?

crystal dawn said...

Woops sorry! I didn't realize I was overt in spoiling the film. :(

I agree with you on the soundtrack - definately not one of the better ones from his movies.