Sloppy Thirds: thoughts on Inglourious Basterds
There were two main reasons I avoided seeing Inglourious Basterds initially. The first was that the film (along with Valkyrie*) seemed to belong to a recent batch of World War II movies whose historical accuracy was beyond suspect. Hollywood has always bent people and events to its advantage, but usually in easily decodable ways. Now we have nazi-scalping Jews and Tom Cruise valiantly trying to dethrone Hitler from within the SS. Even as entertainment, don’t these films indirectly benefit the causes of historical revisionism? The second reason…
Deathproof, Tarentino’s previous “film,” was beyond horrible, lowering my esteem of (sigh) America’s most-watched auteur. But then Jared and Samuel both weighed in, the film won some Golden Globes, and came out on DVD.
I wouldn’t say, as Doob did, that the film is boring. It is perplexing: Tarantino creates an alternate reality that merges signifiers from the past with 60 years of hindsight on those past events. Eli Roth and the other basterds extinguish nazis with a zealous fire in their eyes, History’s grandchildren sent through the time machine of cinema to shoot off Hitler’s face.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is one of last year’s best films, but it will be one of the most memorable. Films with brilliant foreign-born actors spouting video-clerk-argument dialogue in French and German while decked out in full WW II get-up only come around so often.
(Weinsten obviously let QT run wild with this one; I couldn’t help thinking of Miramax/Weinstein films when they torched the French cinema.)
Sidenote: I once saw Daniel Brühl in a club in Berlin. He looked good-looking, but short.
*I walked out of Valykrie. This was during a spell in which I walked out of several awful movies. I missed the alien abduction in Knowing to go do laundry.