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Inglourious Basterds (2009)

At a glance:
If you'rere part of the camp who thinks that Quentin Tarantino ain't made nothin decent since Jackie Brown and that Inglourious Basterds may just mark his return to form after that double feature fiasco he called Grindhouse, then you'll be as disappointed as the Germans who lost the war. The celebrated director's latest is a shallow comic book reimaginin of WWII with improbable characters and romantic (if barbaric) scene resolutions - but devoid of the many things that made his signature Pulp Fiction such an enjoyable piece of entertainment.
Bad news on the doorstep:
As soon as Ennio Morricone's openin track plays, you're assured it's Tarantino time - but this addition to his illustrious catalogue of cult films can't be seen as somethin that matches his usual high standards of fun but culturally important landmark films; instead it's Dirty Dozen in Nazi France, starrin violent scalp-collectin Jews with little character development and moral depth. Of course, this ain't as bad as the totally indulgent, in-universe references in Grindhouse but the appeal of Inglourious Basterds is limited to well-composed fantastical sequences and intermittent clever dialogue. It's like watchin Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs alright, only that the sharpness is skewin towards the objects of torture rather than wordsmithery, not to mention that monologues are so 1994.
Watch out for:
Brad Pitt (R, pic) doesn't seem to be havin a lot of fun as Lt. Aldo Raine (leader of the U.S. Nazi-killin outfit who make bludgeonin human heads and carvin skin Swastikas a favourite Jewish pasttime) but he delivers a commandin male lead all the same. The female Basterds are a Jewish farmgirl played by Paris-born Melanie Laurent and a celeb spy played by German-born Bridget Kruger, who add Euro excitement to the picture, along with a young German officer played by Daniel Bruhl (The Edukators, Goodbye Lenin!) . The standout performance though, belongs to Christoph Waltz as the menacin Jew Hunter, a prime example of well-groomed and polite men of power who can speak four languages and threaten your life with vivid proverbs. He deservingly picked up Best Actor at Cannes for this turn and it looked like he could execute The Final Solution a few times over, just for laughs.
Most memorable line:
Lt. Aldo Raine: "Now, I don't know about y'all, but I sure as hell didn't come down from the goddamn Smoky Mountains, cross five thousand miles of water, fight my way through half of Sicily and jump out of a fuckin' air-o-plane to teach the Nazis lessons in humanity. Nazi ain't got no humanity. They're the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin', mass murderin' maniac and they need to be dee-stroyed."
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Sadly only. America's critical acclaim for this movie is best summarised as perhaps a nod to their admiration for European sophistication (since QT has packaged it accessibly and masterfully) and also a general thirst for anythin Tarantino. Basterds is already his highest grossin movie ever, both Stateside and worldwide. That's a surprise, considerin Yanks are usually adverse to heavily-subtitled films. For the rest of us who expect more from QT, watchin a great character like the Bear Jew (he does nothin after a grand intro) is a regrettable experience that brings us back to the days when Samuel L. Jackson last recited Ezekiel 25:17 and gave us somethin we could talk about for years until the next World War.

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