A review of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds by Jen McNeely
“ARE YOU READY TO GO SEE SOME NAZIS GET THEIR ASS KICKED???!!!” Quentin Tarantino roared at the Toronto premiere of Inglourious Basterds last week, to which the crowd jeered “YEAHHHHHHHHH!”
Upping the ante in blood cringing campy horror, expect to see knives slowly slicing the tops of brains and beanie-esque hairy scalps being tossed into German forests. I think it is this aspect of the film an audience member was poorly describing when he exited the theatre, grinning ear to ear and, giddily remarked “that film was so Tarantino-y!”
Although I appreciate a good squeal, it is the Tarantino dialogue in Inglourious Basterds that will wow intellectual film buffs. He’s a true cinematic genius of our times with balls of steel, quick wit and dramatic timing that inspire creative minds to raise the bar when it comes to originality, verve and nerve. A not-so-guilty pleasure for Jews and the rest of humanity who curses Nazi Germany, this film gives us the POW-BANG-POP kind of revenge we’ve always wanted to see. When we feel a release of endorphins watching Hitler get bulldozed with bullets, it’s not maniacal to enjoy but a long overdue fantasy.
Somewhat like his role in the Coen brothers crime-comedy ‘Burn After Reading,’ Brad Pitt plays an easily mocked cartoonish yank who is fun to watch but pales in comparison to actor Christopher Waltz…who truly carries the film as Col. Hans Landa or “Jew Hunter” by reputation. Prim and polite, this whack-job takes his apple strudel with a dollop of crème fraiche and then delicately blots his pursed lips with a folded napkin. Pastry delights that can easily be followed by a passionate throat strangle. A complex and well crafted character indeed.
Tarantino cast pal Eli Roth (Director of Cabin Fever) and describes his character as the “biggest bastard Jew of all” – whose notoriety extends to mythical proportions within the Nazi regime. Why did Tarantino bring in a green actor for such a major role? Apparently he wanted a genuine Boston Jew and Roth gave just the right swing of a baseball bat. Of course, we also think the playful director just likes to fuck around on set with friends. Nevertheless Roth was convincing as a very angry man – and confessed that the intensity of his menacing role was drawn from the sweet sounds of Hannah Montana and petulant grocery shoppers in the check-out line at Whole Foods alike.
Inglourious Basterds unfolds in a series of chapters beginning with dramatic tension, so tight it steams, and eventually escalating into comedic ridiculousness (in a good way) and full throttle sensationalism.
It’s obvious that the process of shooting this film was pure masturbation for Tarantino, but hey – I got off, so no complaints.
Cameo appearances are made by Mike Myers as a scotch ingesting rotten tooth scheming British general and Tarantino himself, the welcomed but unnecessary piñata at the party. It’s a hushed secret but I have my money on Tarantino being the capillary shot booze-nosed Sergeant who truly serves no purpose in the film but to warm the piano bench.
Popcorn lovers will enjoy the zany violence and film aficionados the screenplay and theatrical sets. Tarantino has reclaimed his throne as king of gamesome and original work; contemporary cinema’s virtuoso of bold and outrageous creation. And with that I will end with telling you – Tarantino styles – to go see this FUCKING FILM and watch some Nazis get their god damned fucking heads scalped!