Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1777 - Inglouious Basterds

I haven't watched this film since it was in theatres and for some reason felt compelled to throw it on in the background as I was doing some mindless work.  I've been a pretty harsh critic of QT in my recent years and I'm trying to think of why.  I think it's because while he makes films that are entertaining as all hell and he's got style coming out the whazu (apologies - I have no idea how to spell whazu - you get the drift) I feel like he's lacking largely in substance.  I'd argue that his first two outings had some - there was some moral at the bottom of it all.  But his recent films just feel like he's having fun with the medium of film while telling variations on the revenge story - not to being overly critical, but the revenge story is one of the easiest to tell - an audience will always root for someone trying to right a wrong.  And there's nothing wrong with that - hell I'm developing one of my own.  But it seems to be a like a tad bit of a crutch for QT.  This film is full of some really wonderful and clever moments.  It's also full of a fair deal of pretension and lingering on moment and shots just because he damn well feels like it.  Anything with Christoph Waltz is pretty much amazing, because that's a man that demands attention and Brad Pitt is a shit-tonne of fun here as well. 
If you haven't seen this yet, clearly you're not a fan of Quentin Tarantino, so not sure what else there is to say about it.  I suppose, at the bottom of it, I'm more curious what the non-die hards think.  I find it entertaining, but largely forgetful.  No offence QT.  I'll still watch every new thing you ever make - but I don't disagree with the comments you've made that state you've only got about 10 films in you - shame is that half of them are the same story.


Matt said...

I agree that QT isn't the most original filmmaker in terms of story. He definitely makes films nobody else could make, but his stories do bear many resemblances to each other. Kill Bill, Death Proof, Inglourious, and upcoming Django Unchained are ALL revenge tales.

But, he is damn great at a number of things: making great entertainment, building suspense (in true Hitchcockian fashion in the first scene of IB), and above all, creating fascinating, unique characters. None of his characters in his films are the same (for the most part), though Dr. King Schultz (Waltz's character in Django Unchained) does bear some resemblances to Hans Landa, based on the script I read.

I enjoy the hell out of most all of his films, and they're usually somewhere among my favorites of the year. But it's almost always for reasons beyond the story - I should also note, his third acts recently have been somewhat shoddy. Mainly Inglourious, and the third act of Django, unless he changed it from the draft that was drifting around.

Jeremy said...

Absolutely - the man has a voice - there's no arguing that. My critique is that his voice is just loud and doesn't say a whole hell of a lot. His character work is strong, but I don't know if they're so much unique as they are quirky. His leads are all quite similar in that they're extremely articulate, and then he gives them variations on intelligence. I love Brad Pitt's performance in this film, but the character is pretty one dimensional if you really look at it. He's just entertaining to watch, but he certainly wouldn't be able to carry the narrative all by himself. I'd argue that Hans Landa is the main character of IB as he's easily the most defined and multi-dimensional, and the plot tends to turn on the choices that HE makes. As a technical filmmaker there are few that have matched him, though boy did they try! But, over-all, he really just makes popcorn flicks for the art-house crowd. And there's nothing wrong with that at all. I'm mostly just revisiting his work now trying to convince myself if it's worth paying for the Tarantino XX bluray set :)