Friday 28 August 2009

Inglourious Basterds...

Some people have a problem with Tarantino - I don't. Some people didn't like Kill Bill 1 or 2 - I really enjoyed both. Some people also hated Death Proof - I absolutely loved it.

Likewise, some folk haven't taken kindly to Inglourious Basterds, but I can't understand why. You know what to expect from Tarantino, so you shouldn't be all that surprised, and it possesses QT's best dialogue since Pulp Fiction.

On top of that, you've got Brad Pitt playing the endlessly entertaining Aldo Raine (although I would have liked a bit more of him, and the other Basterds too), and unknown-to-most-until-now Christoph Waltz playing QT's best bad guy since ... well ... ever, in the guise of Col. Landa - "The Jew Hunter". Oh, and Til Schweiger does a great job as Hugo Stiglitz, if only there was more of him in the Basterd sections (but he does get a superb introduction). Previously I'd only ever heard of him via the trailer (as seen online) for FarCry (yes, the sure-to-be-shitty-like-all-the-others Uwe Boll movie).

Ahead of it's release, the inclusion of Eli Roth created a bit of a storm online with fanboys groaning in anticipation - I was one of them - I always found his cameos to be clumsy (such as Death Proof, or his own Thanksgiving trailer - but not Cabin Fever, actually) ... however, Roth does pull out a good performance.

In the words of Total Film, Roth isn't given "enough rope to hang himself with", which makes sense when you see the movie. The Basterds, while providing the title, are really only one third of the whole movie itself - it is them, Shoshana, and Col. Landa, and their interweaving plotlines.

I do feel though, that Tarantino could use a bit more discipline these days - although interestingly he himself addressed this issue in an interview he did with Charlie Rose (it's a good interview too, and it's nice to hear him talk at length about the film). QT talks - a lot - about his movies, but I feel that some critics use this as an excuse to ask of QT certain things without seeking a direct answer, or they demand certain things when they're not face-to-face with him ... or they simply don't bother to see what QT himself has to say about his own film, in an interview such as that with Charlie Rose, which covers a lot of ground.

Back to the discipline issue though - while I was glad to see QT is aware of it, and even addressed it in the aforementioned interview, he really does need to regain more of it.

A couple of times during Basterds (or just "Inglourious", as the lame-ass UK-but-no-US advertisers would prefer), I found myself waiting for the protagonists to get to the punchline of their (gripping) war of words. I get it, he's a spy, the other one thinks he might be a spy, but they're both pretending to assume the opposite of what they think to each other ... now can we get to the crux of the scene, please?

Increased discipline from QT's part - at a script stage - would solve such an issue. While the dialogue is excellent, it could have easily been boiled down a bit to get to a purer form of the same thing without compromise - indeed, it would improve the already rather bloody great dialogue-heavy scenes.

It would also help redress the balance of chit-chat-to-action. While it was suitable for Death Proof to have a lot of talk (many such exploitation flicks would be loaded with dialogue - which was nowhere near as good as QT's - but would advertise on the basis of the few action scenes throughout). Also, while I really enjoyed Kill Bill Vol. 2, it was too wordy at points - great flick, but a bit on the too-wordy side. My point being, since Vol. 2, QT has been getting wordier and wordier - he needs to reign himself in and pull back slightly, because it would actually improve things.

Speaking of action though - when you get it in Basterds, it is often swift - but brilliant. Speaking of action, that means violence, and speaking of violence, that means special make-up effects, and Nicotero & Berger return to provide the grisly - and man alive, it is some of their best work. Whenever the violence would erupt (especially two shots towards the end of the movie), my eyebrows would leap up my forehead. Bloody good work from the KNB boys.

Oh and yes, the choice of music throughout (especially the key set piece tracks, such as Bowie's "Putting Out The Fire") is great. QT's choice of music is always great, and it often introduces the mainstream audience to something new - which is no bad thing, is it?

All-in-all, I really enjoyed Inglourious Basterds, and I do hope it gets the proper coverage on DVD. Both Kill Bill movies were stuffed on DVD with sod-all extras, which was a damn shame ... however, his first three flicks, as well as Death Proof, have all been given solid double-disc treatments.

As such, a double disc treatment with plenty of interest, making ofs, and behind the scenes stuff please!

Finally - I've read that Tarantino has a bunch of scenes shot, which were removed with the intention of putting them into a second movie - that sounds cool-as-hell to me. I most definitely want a sequel (and please, take note of the discipline issue), and I would quite like one that filled in those three years we don't get to see in this flick.

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