A summation of a movie that's so beautiful ... I nearly cried.
Cannes is something I really would love to go to. It's in France, much like Tarantino's latest flick Inglourious Basterds. There has been much speculation and criticism heading towards this movie for being a.) Too talky, and b.) ahistorical. Only half of this is legitimate. The talking in this movie does stretch on forever, though, and it may be offputting to the casual movie-goer. Then again, Tarantino's movies never really effectively reached that demographic. Sure, directors would love for their movies to be successful, but they also want the movie lovers to like it as well. It's my belief that Inglourious Basterds strikes such a wonderful chord with the viewer from start to finish, and it holds the viewer all the way through until the conclusion, about 152 minutes after the movie's beginning. What isn't there to like about this movie? Wonderful performances? Check. A sense of humor and a touch of Tarantino's signature silliness? Check. Fully developed and nutured characters? Check. Actually ... man ... those characters ...
I used to raid an evil website, and on that website was a fundamental chart of good, neutral, and evil. Each category could be lawful, neutral, and chaotic. These characters take up the bottom third of this chart. AND! Upon finding out that the origins of said chart reign from the depths of Dungeons and Dragons (which I otherwise have absolutely no knowledge of at all) it just makes the proceedings all the more interesting. Yes? Yes. Shall we proceed?
First, there is Lawful Evil, played by Brad Pitt, who is known as, in this movie, as Lt. Aldo Raine. (Aldo Ray, anyone?) How Aldo is evil is simple. His actions are every bit as inhumane as any Nazi who walked the planet. It's nearly hypocritical, but these Nazi's definitely started it, and the Nazi's have had a 60 year head start on their atrocities before the Basterds. So, in all honesty, who DOESN'T want to see a nazi get (eek!) scalped? Aldo upholds the law, in so many ways. He is there not to get the Nazi's to re-think their position, but to get them to know just how EVIL they really are, and the only sensible way to show a nazi his own faults is by applying the action to the nazi him or herself. Through their inability to see humanity in the Jewish community, they themselves have resigned their right to be seen as actual human beings. Aldo doesn't exactly see himself as a human being so much as he sees himself as a horrifying representation of the ultimate nazi fear.
Second, there is Neutral Evil played coldly by Melanie Laurent, who is known as Shosanna Dreyfuss in this film. She isn't cold without reason, however. She is cold in the sense of her history, and her personal affront with a group of nazis. What she does is inherently evil, but only in the way she presents it herself. She wants to be seen as evil, and it is a neutral evil because it is completely necessary. She wouldn't be put in the position she is in had she not been affronted by the nazis personally, and there would have only been a strong opinion unaccompanied by the will to destroy. But, I say too much, though I'm sure most of you have seen the film already.
Finally, there is Chaotic Evil played brilliantly by Christoph Waltz, who is known as Col. Hans Landa SS in this film. His is a performance that should no doubt land a nice little spot among four other Oscar Nominees this year. Landa is not anti-semetic, but it is his job that asks him to be. He refers to himself as a detective, and a damn good one, which he is. Landa is one of those kinds of sociopaths that really uses his lack of empathy for anyone as a benefactor in any situation. Not to mention that he is extraordinarily intelligent, the smartest in this film (which begs the question as to why he ends up in a goofy, and obvious situation later on), as he can think like those who he seeks, acts on impulse when no one is looking, is a step ahead of everyone, and can speak four languages by my count. (German, Italian, French, English.) All of these attributes, plus an astonishingly peppy sense of humor, add up to a pretty lethal weapon, and one that can cause a LOT of damage at any given time. He knows everyone, he knows how to press all their buttons, and he enjoys fucking with everyone past the breaking point. There is one young woman in the film who ends up in tears ... but for very understandable reasons.
In short, he sure does. Inglourious Basterds takes you on this ride that doesn't stop until the end. Tarantino is a master at creating tension, and those scenes with seemingly endless dialogue build up the tension SO much that it snaps, and people are almost literally blown away. What we basically have here is a hysterical World War II comedy. Steven Spielberg tried to make a World War II comedy called 1942 some years ago. Do you remember it? Neither do I. But it's not fair to comapre someone like Tarantino to Spielberg. Not really because one is more talented than the other, but because the two styles are so drastically different from each other. Among the list of Evils in this film are a list of side characters that do more than just add fodder for Tarantino to take out in the long run. For one, there is a nice young Brit soldier who diguises himself as a Nazi Officer, and is almost immediately identified by a Gustapo officer as a German who isn't really from Germany. And with a name like Captain Frankfurt ... it's a shock that the officer didn't take him out upon discovering his name. But then ... the nazi's in this film like to pride themselves before they destroy. They're like a James Bond villain ... a very evil, very big, very powerful James Bond villain ... who kills James Bond. Or something.
If there is a slight disappointment ... it's the lack of involvement from the Basterds themselves. Walking out, I did have the thought, 'Man, I thought there were gonna be way more dead nazis.' Quentin Tarantino's dialogue runs strong through the film and it doesn't stop. It's not at all a bad thing, and I think that it adds a lot of tension to the scenes here, but it does mean that there will be a lot less nazi killing. For those who were expecting the largest anti-nazi romp ever, they'll be pleased to know that the film is every bit as anti-nazi as Schindler's List. However, they'll have to make do with the fact that not a lot of those nazis die. Granted, in this movie, when nazis die ... they DIE. Look very close to the first brutal kill in this movie. It involves Eli Roth, a Nazi, and a bat.
Oh, trust me. What ever you are thinking right now, you are thinking small. This movie is all about the grandeur of nazi killing, which is probably why the killings were far and in between. Tarantino has a love for his characters, and is more than willing to let his characters relish in the setting that they are given. Aldo Raine swarthes his way into situations that are mere suicide, and he ends up finding himself standing on top of 100 dead nazis. Shosanna Dreyfuss (the lady in the red dress) relishes in her femme fatale physique. She upholds herself with overt confidence, and knows how to use herself as a lure, and trap the bigwigs all in one dramatic, hellish setting. Col. Hans Landa dances away with his role, penetrating our fears with a fierce wit. He is a sociopath through and through, and, as I said earlier, isn't so much an anti-semite as he is a guy who just adores fucking with everyone, and just making their lives just a bit more worse than they already are.
The settings add to the flavor of the flick itself, and Tarantino's shamelessly borrowed technical style fits nicely into the tone of the movie. It doesn't even matter that Tarantino's technical influence so blatantly hails from film makers of yore largely because his sense of characterisation, setting, and writing are so unique and completely inspired. Never has a cast been this colorful, and after colorful chracters such as Mr. White, Vincent Vega, Jackie Brown, The Bride, and Stuntman Mike, one must be led to believe that Tarantino's approach to film making will be honed by many who try to break into the profession. I, myself, have made a number of short films that have been regrettably lost through the sands of time. Are they any good? No, but my hope is to become something of a film maker. These reviews are fun enough, but ... to be behind the camera ... puts a big stupid smile on my face. In short, you should see this movie. I
|Originality||Killing Nazi's ... not the MOST original idea in the world, but it doesn't have to be. This is a completely different angle on the war, which is VERY refreshing. Not to mention ... a certain pwnage of an uber asshole ...||4.5|
|Acting||Spot on from a great cast. Special mention goes to Christoph Waltz, my favorite performance in the film for an abundance of reasons.||5|
|Soundtrack||Again, very Tarantino. The anachronisms don't always work, but they work enough of the time to be completely enjoyable.||4.5|
|Effects/Presentation||Enthusiastic. Colorful. Quentin Tarantino.||5|
|Storyline||Strong, and confident. Tarantino is a master of building suspense.||5|
|Isikins Worthy||This is a dumb category. But I had to fill this last box with something.||5|
|Final Verdict: 4.83|