Thursday 23 July 2009

Inglourious Basterds Review - from the UK Premiere.

Quentin Tarantino came bouncing onto the Leicester Square Odeon stage with his usual, crazy amount of energy. His first comments were instructing the audience to turn off their cellphones, which he waited for everyone to do. And then after introducing Christoph Waltz and Diane Kruger (Brad Pitt was absent) he asked, "Are we ready to see some some basterds?' repeatedly until he got the required enthusiasm from the audience. It didn't take long. As he slammed the microphone to the floor - it was time for us, finally, to see Inglourious Basterds.

I offer my opinions honestly, I don't claim to be a film critic or have any kind of authority on film reviewing. I just know that I really didn't love the film. 'Basterds', as you might expect-- gets the full Tarantino treatment of retro titling, obscure music (featuring many post-war artists and styles) and over the top violence. Now don't get me wrong, the violence was fun to watch; but it's starting to feel a bit too Tarantino; like he's impersonating himself.

The things that made 'Kill Bill' inspired made 'Inglourious Basterds' seem old, and self-indulgent. As a Director, Tarantino has always liked the long, drawn out scenes. But I remember watching that painfully lengthy restaurant scene in 'Death Proof' and wishing it was about ten minutes shorter. Well, that happened in nearly every scene in this film-- everything was screaming out to be shorter. For vast sums of the film I felt one thing; pure boredom. The scenes were unnecessarily long without good reason; they weren't integral to the story and they didn't build tension. I hated feeling this way, who wants to be bored during a Tarantino film?

I think, for me, the main thing that was missing was any kind of characters we could care for, or believe in. Whilst Brad Pitt's smug look throughout was kind of amusing, it was hard to take seriously. The only character who really had depth to her was Shosanna (Melanie Laurent); who's tale of revenge was something the audience could really get behind.

Anyways, I don't mean to slam the film -- there were some great moments; I laughed quite a lot throughout. It's the little things that stick out in my mind, like Hitler turning to a soldier, looking serious, and just saying, "gum?," or Pitt sticking his finger in an open leg-wound as a way of torture, along with some typically brilliant violence (eeek, not a good phrase!) such as Eli Roth battering a soldier to death with a baseball bat, which will no doubt go down as one of the all-time great Tarantino scenes.

The film, as many of you will already know, does rewrite history in some small ways. This will cause a lot of division between viewers, I would imagine. Personally, as ridiculous as it is, I kind of enjoyed it. I kind of got to see what I would have loved to have happened in real life. But to say any more would give away the ending.

If you're a war veteran looking for a respectful account of your heroic work in the war, this isn't the film for you. If you have any interest in history or World War 2, again, this film isn't really for you. But if you like Tarantino and you like seeing shit blow up and all the cool stuff that comes with his movies, then you'll probably enjoy this.

I have always been a big Tarantino fan, and whilst this does show his usual skills and bountiful ideas; it seems a bit forced at times, and about 40 minutes too long. There were moments of boredom, interspersed with moments of being truly gripped, and other moments of laughing out loud. Worth a watch, but 'Pulp Fiction' this is not.

Care to share?


  1. I actually can't wait to see this one. Finger in leg wound and all. (And I don't deal well with blood and gore.)

  2. Hmm ... sounds a bit disappointing, but I'll probably still watch it. I'm a fan of Tarantino's but I'm a bigger fan of history, so not sure how I'm going to react to this one.