Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Film Review With Sam Larner

After his two week holiday, Sam Larner returns to the Painter's Chronicle website to give us another in depth fil review, this week of Inglorious Bastards. Enjoy!
Inglorious Bastards
This is the newest Quentin Tarantino film and is largely considered a return to form following the Kill Bill volumes. It has Tarantino's signature scrawled all over it with the use of chapters, the dark humour interlinked with serious plot and the inter textual comparisons. If you are already a Tarantino fan then you will find nothing to dislike in this new offering however if you think that he is a bit of a stuck up, arty ponce capable of sparks of brilliance but more often than not just settles for regular non descript action movies that his hordes of fanboy followers faun over like a new child.
Now, before I start the actual meat of the review I will just fill you in on a bit of background about my relationship with Tarantino's work. Firstly, I absolutely love "Pulp Fiction", it's one of my favourite films and will no doubt stay in my top 5 list for a very long time. I also loved "Reservoir Dogs" although slightly less than "Pulp Fiction", however I found that the "Kill Bill" films and "Death Proof" were really much too smug and self reflective than I could take. The biggest problem was that it is just one movie however you had to pay twice to see it. Tarantino said this was because of the length; well you know Quentin I don't want to tell you how to do your job but perhaps try and edit it down to a reasonable length. Quentin has also now surrounded himself with other film geeks such as Robert Rodriguez and Eli Roth, the latter even included references to "Pulp Fiction" in his "Hostel" movies, which really is the worst kind of ass licking imaginable.
Right now that I've vented my spleen it's time to move onto the main review. Inglorious Basterds is set in mid war occupied France and follows a group of American soldiers who aim to kill and scalp as many German soldiers as they can. Brad Pitt stars as Aldo Raine the leader of this group of men. The film is split fairly equally between this group and Hans Landa, played by the magnificent Christophe Waltz. The chapters switch between Landa and the Basterds which is a very Tarantinoesque thing to do.
The film starts with Landa who is visiting a French dairy farmer with the intentions of finding out about the Dreyfus family who are believed to be hiding in the building. After forcing the owner of the farm to disclose the hiding place he kills all but the daughter Shosanna who manages to escape and later owns and runs a cinema in Paris. The opening scene is a good one however it lasts for at least twenty minutes and there's another scene later in the film which lasts for almost thirty minutes. This is far too long for a film scene and it shows that what Tarantino wants to do is push boundaries he's not so concerned about the results.
Quentin also includes one of his signature styles which is to overlay 70's music and titles onto the movie. This also happens in "Inglorious" when Sgt Hugo Stiglitz is introduced. Now, I hate this kind of thing in films. The reason why Quentin is virtually the only person who uses this method because it takes the audience out of the film and removes the reality that all films need to have. He needs to prove that he can consistently make brilliant films before he decides to focus on art instead. A film that focuses on style over substance, which is exactly what Tarantino does, is often a failed film.
In summary, I don't like Tarantino however he has made some great films. Inglorious Basterds is not a great film however it is a passable one. It has some fantastic scenes and some of the acting from the foreign actors is stunningly good. However the problem is Quentin and someone needs to take away his fanboys and his inter textual references which are especially noticeable around the central section of this film, a section which includes many nods towards German cinema in the 30's. I'm not sure about you but I don't know that much about German cinema in the 30's and this seems purely to be there so that Tarantino can show off his intelligent. Being geeky isn't big and it isn't clever especially when it hampers the enjoyment of your audience. You're a film maker Quentin, act like it.

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