Best of ’09: Inglourious Basterds (Second Opinion)

As the end of the year all-too-rapidly approaches, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the best films of 2009 – here is Jacqui Hocking’s glowing review of Quentin Tarantino’s bloodthirsty WW2 farce Inglourious Basterds.

There is no easy way to say this. Oh wait, yes there is: This is the most completely kick-assingly-awesome bundle of entertainingly sick fun (In both the ‘fully sick’ and ‘actually disgustingly sick’ kind of way)! Tarantino’s best film yet, perhaps? Dare I? Hell, I don’t even care about comparisons; it was just insanely good.

Brad Pitt was legendary, but I wish he didn’t do Burn After Reading because it tainted his performance in this film. It was such a unique character – an American, gun totin’ Nazi-killer – and he was so funny, which Brad Pitt is rarely regarded as. So yes, he did it well. I’m not saying he didn’t, but the mannerisms were far too similar to his adrenalin-pumped lollipop lovin’ fitness instructor in Burn After Reading. It would have been more original to watch if I hadn’t seen that movie. He obviously studied for a long time learning how to be funny, but he didn’t quite learn how to apply it to two different characters.

Anyway; this film rocked.

Maybe something a bit more edgy in terms of cinematography would have been more ‘landmark’ – I know it’s a Hollywood film, but it’s still Quentin! Could he have given it some more edge? Something more unique and new (think about the first time you saw Pulp Fiction)? Every film he does has an individual touch – some film-making rule has been slaughtered (Literally!) [Yeah, I don’t think you really mean ‘literally’ – ed]. I’m not sure what exactly he could have given this film, but there was a little room for some more of that ‘Quentin Art’.

But hell, I say this as a young film-maker who is always looking for fresh ideas; with someone as inspirational and iconic as Tarantino I expected something a little more of a mind-fuck (other members of the whole revolution in film he started have ended up surpassing his avant-garde-ness). Maybe just in the editing process…? But I guess I can’t really say what’s missing. How can you? I especially loved how contemporary it was in terms of script writing. I mean, killing Nazis! SPOILERS (highlight to reveal): Hitler gets hammered! The humor was cunning, sick, dark, and slapstick. Awesome combination.

Maybe I’m too harsh with regard to its artistic credibility, because the final scene was absolutely stunning in every sense of the word. That scene alone makes me question my capacity to imagine such a diabolical explosion of, well, shit happening! It was mass genocide as an eerie face was projeced onto a screen of illusive smoke; you could smell, hear and experience all the wet blood, pain, fury and unbelievably sick pleasure all at once in one big eruption of burning flesh being uzi’d at. It was insane pyrotechnics and visual affects, some kind of sick laser light show!

Man I love this movie!

– Jacqui Hocking

2 Responses to “Best of ’09: Inglourious Basterds (Second Opinion)”
  1. M. Antonioni says:

    Tarantino was fucking with your mind: you just didn’t notice it. For example, in the scene in which the Bastards torture and kill German soldiers to get German troop positions, the Bastards are clearly the villains and the Germans are clearly the (innocent and helpless) victims (they were ordinary soldiers), following the conventions of a spaghetti western. That scene was not done in the way it would be done in a spaghetti western if it was the good guy seeking revenge. Good guys in spaghetti westerns are not sadistic, which the Bastards clearly were.

    And why do you think that the final shot is from Landa’s point of view, after he got a swastika carved on his forehead? You don’t have to be Fritz Lang to realize that that is saying, in the language of film, that we are all Nazis.

  2. Ben Vernel says:

    True, but it’s a war film. Meaning, it’s a depiction of war. In war, it’s kill or be killed and after a while that has to have an effect on your morals.

    I don’t think it’s supposed to be as clear-cut as you suggest. I don’t think QT was trying to paint the Basterds as villains and the Germans/Nazis as heroes or victims. I think he was trying to lend the film a slight air of ambiguity. Because I don’t care how ‘innocent and helpless’ they’re made out to be, they’re still Nazis. And in war, everyone is guilty of something.

    I think your last statement is pretty ridiculous, though. We’re not all Nazis, either in the sense that we’re subjugated by a powerful dictator and his gestapo and forced to torture civilians or in the sense that we enjoy brutality (I assume you’re referring to our tendency to enjoy violent films?). Some people might, but not everyone does. I like that it can be taken as a comment on his own less intelligent fans but I don’t think it’s exclusively that.

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