Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Little Review: Inglorious Basterds

After a month of its release and not having read a single review, I finally watched Quentin Tarantino's new film, Inglorious Basterds. One thing was sure, I experienced the movie in three phases—(1) the preview, (2) the plot, and (3) the verdict.

Phase 1: In the preview, I mostly witnessed Lt. Aldo Raine's (Brad Pitt) speech to a group of eight soldiers, the Inglorious Basterds themselves. A pacing, intimidating Lt. Aldo led me to believe that this was anything far from a laugh-inducing moment. In the midst of his speech, snippets of terrorizing scenes would flash on the screen. The preview left me curious about Tarantino's interpretation of elite Nazis versus the Jewish-American Basterds. (It was later brought to my attention that there were other previews that more accurately illustrated the movie's spirit. Why I didn't see any of them? I don't know.)

Phase 2: The movie began with a familiar structure to that of Kill Bill, another QT film that is subdivided into Chapters. Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time... in Nazi Occupied France. It was one of my favorite chapters; from exposing a multilingual cast to a 1941 green, French farm landscape to the introduction of Christopher Waltz's character, Hans Landa—an expert at locating Jews and killing them.

During Chapter 2: Inglorious Basterds, Lt. Aldo opens with the speech from the preview. Having just witnessed a somber opening of Chapter 1, I hesitated laughing during parts of Lt. Aldo's speech, parts of which were meant to be comical, even if only for a second. I laughed anyway, and to my relief, I wasn't the only one. It still felt a little awkward. For purposes of not telling the entirety of the movie, I digress at chapter two.

Phase 3: The following is not meant to insult your intelligence nor is it supposed to come off as condescending. But after reading mixed reviews and watching the movie, I think it's important to know that this is a Quentin Tarantino film; not an documentary. Therefore, yes, it is a little too gruesome for some (especially the annoying girl to my right). And, yes, the movie has vivid images of shootings, brutal beatings, spies, scalping of soldiers, betrayal, and of course, lots of blood. Also, no, this is not meant to be an accurate account of history. But, I believe Tarantino meant to tell a story, with other stories weaved within. Tarantino uses abrupt flashbacks, discrete humor, slightly more-than-necessary dialogue and chapters to develop an intricate story--it gave the film a page-turner-like quality.

Needless to say, I didn't put it down. And it especially didn't feel like 2 1/2 hours.

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