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Inglorious Basterds - the new Tarantino movie

Posted 08-16-2009 at 03:59 PM by Andy
I went to see a preview of this movie recently. Though I am not a whole hearted Tarintino fan I do think - for a period of his early career - he was a brilliant recycler of cinematic tropes; I doubt his 'genius' however.

He has stated in interviews that he wants, most of all, to 'do his own thing' and I think in 'Inglorious Basterds' we witness, quite explictly, what this means and how it reflects on him as an artist. Is Tarantino a man who can deal effectively with a weighty theme such as the persecution of Jews during WW2, the descent into madness and destruction that this period of our history represents? Most certainly not, and this film demonstrates this fact to great extent.

The Inglorious Basterds are a group of soldiers, some Jews, some simply Americans, one actual German, whose mission it is to go behind enemy lines and terrorise German soldiers in Germany and Occupied France. This in itself, seems a highly unrealistic mission and I imagined before watching the film that it would form the centre of some kind of absurd comedy perhaps about the futility of war and an evil - in the form of the Nazi's - that is so beyond intelligibilty that all we can finally do is laugh or cry. However, Tarantino allows the mission to be a real feature of a plot that follows a predictable course that eventually climaxes in the ridiculous and even infantile.

Of course I won't tell you what happens, it is probably still a movie worth watching if only to put the rest of his work into some kind of context. There is violence, some nasty, a little less than some of his other movies and even more absurdly without point - as the whole of the film is. All the movie seems to declare, essentially is: 'there was a period known as the Second World War, I will take you on an imaginative journey that will vaguely nod to what happened though say nothing new and essentially use it to create a new playground for my cinematic excursions into violence, slick dialogue, nice camera tricks and a certain verve in telling a story, No matter how meaningless and silly that story may be."

At the end of the movie I knew it was bad as I was revisted by all the bad movies I had ever seen and almost reached that sublime point in awareness when the bad almost becomes plesurable because it is just so bad - but not quite.
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