Saturday, March 27, 2010

Glory glory!

Oh, Quentin Tarantino, let's cut the pretense, shall we?
I love your movies, and your movies love me back by being kick-ass.

Inglourious Basterds is one of the most entertaining films of recent memory. Sadly, we don't get a lot of bang for our buck these days at the ol' cinema. Movies get all brainy on us and forget how to be fun. Or they're so concerned with being fun that they have no brain, or heart.
Inglourious Basterds has brains, heart, charm, and a whole load of blood.
If you're looking for a historical re-enactment, go elsewhere. Rent Saving Private Ryan or Letters from Iwo Jima. This movie isn't interested with being historically accurate. It's interested in telling a great story, one that unfortunately isn't true.
A group of allied soldiers have been sent behind enemy lines in World War II. Their secret mission is simple: kill Nazis. But, kill them in a way that will scare the living hell out of the entire Nazi army.
Meanwhile, in France, the lone survivor of a Jewish family murdered by the SS is living in hiding as a cinema owner. The opportunity for revenge comes knocking.
The casting and acting are spot-on. Everyone. Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Til Schweiger, all turn in stellar acting. Even Mike Myers (of Austin Powers, not Halloween) gives a stunning performance.
While watching the movie, all I could think was "Tarantino should have done Indiana Jones 4", because this seemed like the perfect follow-up to the Last Crusade. Unapologetically cavalier Nazi killing (on a scale that's more cathartic hindsight than anything else), dynamite chemistry, a sense of humor, and a heart so big to can feel it beating through the screen.
Now, like all Tarantino films, it has graphic violence. But, for the first time, Tarantino uses the graphic violence in such a sophisticated way that it doesn't seem needlessly bloody. Every drop of blood spilled feels needed. It's war. Dirty, violent, personal war. And it is inglorious.
What surprised me was the cinema sub-plot which was virtually absent from all the marketing done for the film. It was, I felt, a much stronger selling point. Maybe execs thought another woman-seeks-revenge movie from Tarantino would feel redundant? Who knows? But they missed out on a huge audience demographic.
This was the first "new" movie I've seen this year that actually exceeded my expectations, precisely because the sub-plot was totally unexpected, and so well done.
Tarantino is really coming into his own. His next film will bring home Best Picture.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch it again!

P.S. If you haven't seen Grindhouse, you really, really need to. Eli Roth worked as a director on it, along with Rob Zombie, Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. They set out to make B horror movies like they used to be. Only these are so much better, because stunt and effects techonology is so much better. Death Proof features Zoe Bell, who did the majority of Uma Thurman's stunts in Kill Bill. To see someone doing their own stunts, and such extreme stunts gets your adrenaline pumping. They are also very empowering to women, as Tarantino's work often is. Maybe that's why I love it so much? Chicks kick ass!

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