Thursday, 28 April 2011

Inglourious Basterds?

I finally got around to watching Inglorious Basterds. It’s a step back towards Tarantino’s heyday of making great films- well, it’s better than the utterly pointless Deathproof, at least. Here Tarantino rewrites history and gathers some quirky, dangerous Allied soldiers together to whack out the higher echelons of the Third Reich. Because it’s a QT film, the Nazis are- of course- attending a film screening. At this screening, there will be Hitler. Three will be Goebells. There will be various other important nazi war figures who would probably never risk being in the same place at the same time, for exactly the reasons Tarantino wants them there. Think The Dirty Dozen, with quirky snappy dialogue.

Thankfully, the talking doesn’t put the handbrake on the story for once- until the Nazis are playing “The Name Game”- a game bringing back fond university memories for me. Annoyingly, they took all three turns at once each, instead of asking one question per turn.

I had a few other quibbles with the movie. Even if these generals did congregate, would they do it in the middle of a WORLD WAR that they are about to LOSE AGAIN? Shouldn’t they be commanding, not dicking about watching propaganda in a fleapit cinema?

This is Tarantino’s rewriting of history. This is him twisting the past to make his own entertainment. It is entertaining, but I found myself thinking- when is it a good idea to rewrite history? Surely if you are going to show something different happen in the past, you’d want to show how it would make the alternative present / future different to how we know it now. What if Hitler had been killed before he rose to power? Didn’t people look to the Nazi party to protect them from the threats of communism from the East? What if the USSR had taken over the whole of Europe? When would they have stopped? A premise with a bit more clout could have been much more fascinating.

And why would an American soldier carry a baseball bat on a tour of duty in occupied France? JUST to bash nazi’s heads in with? Wouldn’t your rifle suffice? And why is he hiding in a tunnel at the start of the scene? How would he defend his team mates in an ambush?

I personally think it’s time for Tarantino to go full-circle. Inglourious was entertaining, but he’s made better movies- Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. He even made characters care about each other in Jackie Brown (okay, Elmore Leonard did). A good-ol’ gangster movie is what’s needed- sans inane chatter and with an original story. Impress me, Quentin.


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