Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Basterds Of Young

Okay pop quiz: Quintan Tarantino plus people having a good time equals how many dead bodies?


Generally speaking I'm a fan of Quintan Tarantino. His filmmaking is energetic and lively, with vivid characters, fast ball dialogue and-for lack of a better word-pulpy edge. I haven't seen a Tarantino movie I didn't like. And for better or worse, Inglourious Basterds continues that streak. I liked it. Just didn't love it.

Basterds takes place during World War II in Nazi occupied France. A Jewish American military unit has been put together to terrorize the German military there. Meanwhile, a formidible German officer nicknamed the "Jew Hunter" uses intelligence and cunning to kill enemies to the Nazi state. The dude that played the German officer won an Academy Award for his performance and I can see why, he does an excellent job playing the cool power mad killer.

The rest of the movie is a sort of Tarantino by numbers- there's tense standoffs, planned shenanagans that go wrong, different teams of people at work, a place/event where everyone converges, you know, the usual QT stuff. Inglourious Basterds proves the well isn't dry, all of these elements still pop with enough energy to hold attention. The characters are decent but not up to the memorable standards of prior QT movies.

The most interesting aspect of Basterds is also the part I liked the least. Most World War II movies tend to pay reverence to the historical parts of its story. With Basterds, history goes out the window. Without giving away the astonishing ending, it plays out like one of those graphic novels that takes place in an alternate universe. That approach clearly worked for many since it was nominated for Best Picture, but it didn't work for me.

So with Inglourious Basterds I felt like I got fair Tarantino. Some inspiration, definitely a lot of style, resulting in a mildly entertaining effort.

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