Review: Inglourious Basterds

Save James Cameron, who hasnt made a feature film in more than a decade, no director in the world creates as much anticipation as Tarantino does when he picks up a project. Inglourious Basterds was no different. The noise for this one has been around since the time he announced this movie even before he made Grindhouse. And it has lived up to its hype and people seemed to love it. I dont.

Tarantino has carved a niche for himself where he makes seemingly the most absurdest of stories into compelling tales with visual and aural splendour which lie perfectly on that thin line between genius and mockery of genius. Thats quite something. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the stuff he has made and I have seen. (Yet to watch Jackie Brown and Deathproof) My favourites among his work are the Kill Bill movies. And yes I had mentioned in the podcast episode before, though I really appreciate Pulp Fiction I dont consider it remotely even among the greatest movies ever made. Also I dont consider him among my favourite or even the best directors out there. Yes he is a brilliant auteur who has created his special place by giving the internet generation marvellous mashups of old and current popular cultures and arts from all over the world but where is the variety? His originality lies in the incredulity of his work but where is the novelty?

It does sound odd when I praising him so much and yet not saying he is among the best. Well Inglourious Basterds is the reason why! The movie is an engrossing tale of revenge and amends for misfortune doled out to the Jews and band aid in alternate history to their immense suffering and persecution. As always the storytelling is brilliant. I am engrossed in the tale he tells and often surpised with the tricks he pulls but.. yawn! I have seen it before and he reminds of himself or of Leone. The first half hour I was telling myself, havent I seen this before, havent I heard it before. The shot compositions and the background score was beyond a tip of the hat to Leone and Morricone they were big banners. As the tale moves on there is the usual mix of unexpected events which Tarantino always uses with good doses of gruesome violence and awkwards twists of events. I have seen it all before. It was no different from watching that movie where Leonardo Di Caprio is a spy in Middle East under Russell Crowe (Body of Lies, the name I almost forgot even though it is Ridley Scott) but I wont forget Basterds cos it is Tarantino! But that is not enough for me I want more from this guy. I want movies in different genres, newer stories, different plot lines and devices and maybe even without crime!

I know the Tarantino fans are gasping and they are much like the Apple Fanboys, who wont allow a single word against their god Steve Jobs. I wont go on comparing them but please QT step out of your own classic fanboy shell and give us something that blows us away, something original ala Reservoir Dogs but in a different line. I doubt if Tarantino will ever do it and I doubt if I will ever call him the best.
Back to the movie, I found the characterization not upto his usual standards. Except for Landa and Shoshanna the other characters werent built well enough. Yeah I know he gave a lot of flashback style character sketches but that isnt enough. Is it? Ask our telugu filmmakers they will give you tons of it. Though it is no excuse, I understand it is already a long movie and you cant cram in every bit. The best character in the movie as everyone already knows by now was Col. Hans Landa, played by Christopher Waltz with utmost wicked charm and cruel delight.

It was wonderful to watch him essay the character so wonderfully being charmed by the evil and I felt like an impressionable girl getting wooed by a infamous playboy. Shoshanna Dreyfus played by Melanie Laurent and Frederick Zoller by Daniel Bruhl did impress but the other were just well placed pieces. Diane Kruger and Brad Pitt though well cast dint have really much to do. They did have LOTS to do in terms of how the story goes but what I mean is this is not their movie. It is Waltz's and a bit of Laurent's. I did love the climax and its lip service to history. Why dont people do it more often? Gives a lot of fodder plots wise. Watchmen was the other movie this year which did the same, if you know what I mean.

Finally, I shall end this extraordinary long review on my reappearance with stating that I have to make so many observations to tell you Tarantino is not THE MAN. If it were any other movie by any other director you would have been on another page by now! That is testament to what this man has done in terms of capturing people's imagination by reinventing the wheel.

Rating: 7/10

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Anonymous said...

Awesome review!!..:D

Ire said...

Good review. I second you here!

Vemana said...

@hemanth and @nikita. Thank you :)