Friday, August 21, 2009

"Inglourious Basterds" (2009) - Movie Review

When the Chapter One of “Inglourious Basterds” starts, there is a farmer (Denis Menochet) chopping woods with his axe and one of his daughters sees an SS vehicle approaching their way. There is going to be blood bath but when is it going to happen and how atrociously gruesome Quentin Tarantino is going to give the introductory chapter to us? This is the tension he dances upon. We see an extremely kind and it is genuine or the act he puts cannot be more convincing in a middle aged officer. He is polite, respectful and there is a thin line of sinister which we begin to love more than Brad Pitt’s Lt. Eldo Raine, which is Christopher Waltz playing Colonel Hans Landa.

This five chapter film is a complete Tarantino experience, nothing short of it. It is not a glorification of the indulgence he overstepped in “Death Proof”. It has the intensity and the passion the director carries around in his films. Even when he utterly disappointed in “Kill Bill: Vol.1”, he did it with style and when he gave redeemed and came above the thrill seeking bloody picture to a matured film in “Kill Bill: Vol.2”, he is like no other in the realms of his film making. And in “Inglourious Basterds”, we see the passion and the admiration for the material he has personally written over the span of ten years.

This is a World War II and we see Hitler (Martin Wuttke) and as the director said in many interviews, it is a backdrop. This is not a film about revelation and the atrocity of the holocaust. This is a Tarantino film and it stays so till the end. The characters such as Eldo Raine, an old and lovable but ruthlessly deadly American from the state of Tennessee along with his Basterds are like the Seven Samurai, only more bloody and brutal. They wander around the land of France spotting the Nazis and delivering the scalps to their Lieutenant. Eldo has a long scar running all through his neck. We are not told what caused it but we know he survived it. Now Brad Pitt does the Southern accent which I cannot be a great endorser but it damn well suits Eldo. Weird, outlandish and comic in the way only Tarantino could do.

When the film has tables and chairs filled with unpredictable characters, that is when it is a spectacle to watch. The plots and the twists in the end serves the term “end”. It merely becomes something the audience could leave without a problem. How it could have been made great is unthinkable because in a film like this where any one can get their lives taken by the virtue of the scene can never have an alternate course. But Waltz gives a villain we could all remember. In fact he is a Basterd of a different kind. His Nazi uniform makes him differ from the heroic attribute of Eldo and his crew into an antagonist. Yet there is more to it. Eldo is a naked wrench coming at you with all its mighty force and you are completely aware of it and not enough time to react. Hans Landa is sweet just the amount to not distinguish between his devilishness and considerate part of his act of being the gentleman.

The obvious evidence when watching this film is that Tarantino got me into it right from the start. And it kept on building seeing what he can do after more than a decade and half of successful reign and becoming the cult and hall of fame director of this generation. Even when the title comes up, it is a sneak attack on the casts he consolidated. When you see Mike Myers name in a Tarantino war flick, you got to give it to the man, he spends time to shape his credits. And I am sure he would have been laughing like a child wondering the reaction of the crowd when they see that credits.

“Inglourious Basterds” carries the weight of the expectation and no wonder the show was filled and packed. Every one of them were sold even before the film began. The nature of the stage is such that the good and evil, so clearly been established by history and Hollywood have so far been played as the glorification, sympathetic and tragic. Tarantino’s film goes for glorification but it also sickens when it is needed. He sees the comedy in the unseen circumstances and suspense in the smallest things.

Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, B. J. Novak, Melanie Laurent and Michael Fassbender do their varying length of roles in to characters made by them provided by Tarantino with the love he brings to the film. I do not have to say that “Inglourious Basterds” is a thoroughly enjoyable film but I do have to say that when high billed actors let their character killed unexpectedly handing their trust on the director’s material, there you have the ultimate freedom for the creativity that rarely gets hoisted. Brad Pitt has been in interesting projects for the past few years. In this his screen time compared to the award winning performance of Christopher Waltz is very less but he makes lot of fans along the way. In any of those, the fans are for his characters than his image. There you see the success of both an actor and a director.


Balaji said...

Will this movie get past the Indian Censor Board to the screens without distorting the storyline ?

Karthik said...

thanks for the promising review boss...I was waiting for the review.As balaji asked will it pass the censor board?

Ashok said...

Balaji and Karthik,

I have not seen a film out here and then in India to really answer that. But of course in any Tarantino film, you get the perfect R-rated material. Time can only tell ! :-)

Karthik said...

truly wonderful ,yet to review it.i am not at all exxagerating i was in sathya and all of sudden there was a sound from crowd " anja nenjan tarantino vazhga " ,i was amused.then when his title came on the screen the whistles were matching which sounds for our regional heroes.

Balaji said...

Watched the movie yesterday. Uncut. My first QT movie on big screen. It was superb. I consider this movie to be QT's tribute to "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "The Dirty Dozen". The opening sequence sets the ball rolling in true QT style. The way QT stops to admire the French delicacy and the girl in red and the bar games... oh they are too good for words.

My statement might be prejudiced; but ... QT is the best.

Ashok said...

Balaji and Karthik, I am glad you two get to watch the film. I loved the film as you two did. Tarantino's movie making as any good movie director has that love for the screen and the medium. Now we have to wait for couple of more years till his weird twisted mind of his comes up with another film.