Friday, August 28, 2009

Inglorius Basterds

"I'll have to think up a lot of new adjectives when I come back."
Nazi occupied France sees a convergence of forces dedicated to one goal: causing the Third Reich pain. Not the least of which are the Basterds, dropped behind enemy lines to sew chaos in the Nazi ranks.

Say what you want about writer/director Quentin Tarantino but, the fact of the matter is- he makes darn enjoyable movies. Do they ponder the existential? No. Do they make for interesting political discussion? No. Do they entertain the crap out of me? A thousand times YES! And Inglorius Basterds lives up to it's pedigree, and then some.

With a refreshingly generous helping of it's dialogue delivered it French or German, the inter-lingual play that sometimes occurs is enthralling, and in many places offers up a huge boost to the drama. It also adds to the overall feel of an early '40s Europe- caught up in an escalating war with countries who's borders and cultures overlapped before hand. This is an angle I that too many WWII movies don't capitalize .

Tarantino's flare for character development through conversational dialogue takes full advantage of this as-well, sometimes even using the language being spoken to help define his characters. And ohhh the characters! So many just begging to connect with! Basterds is an ensemble piece through and through- even if the ensemble in question shares very little screen time.

In a film full of characters that draw the eyes and ears in deeper, there is a shining jewel, and his name is Christopher Waltz. Easily the owner of every scene he's in, Waltz, a new blip on my radar as he was a German TV actor for most of his career, plays Col. Hans Landa to perfection- forcing me to love hating him with every inch of my popcorn laden heart. The Best performance of the year so far hands down.

But with all this praise comes a complaint, or better still- a warning: it would be in his best interest for Quentin Tarantino to be mindful of how many like "themes" (scenarios, cast members, etc.) he brings from one film to another. It would be a horrible waste to see him fall completely into the same "recycle-reduce-re-use" trap some other directors can't seem to find their way out of. Using the same casts, composers, and color palettes in nearly every movie is not, in my opinion, quality cinema... Tim Burton, I'm looking in your direction.

This movie may be hyped to the gills, but this is one of those rare times when it's actually deserved. What's that rap lyric? "It ain't stuntin' if you got it"? Well I'm sure Basterds won't be for everyone, but it certainly has "got it."

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