Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Inglourious Basterds"

I went into “Inglourious Basterds” expecting more of a rip-roaring rampage of Nazi-scalping than in fact transpired - Quentin Tarantino’s latest is more intellectually ambitious than the pulpy war films and B-Westerns which inspired it, and all the better for that. His breathtakingly bold rewriting of the history of World War 2 consists largely of long, extremely tense dialogue scenes, which generally culminate in messy (in terms of both narrative and blood) violence. The film is dominated by the performances of Christoph Waltz (as Holmesian Jew-hunter Landa), and Brad Pitt (as cigar-chomping redneck anti-Nazi Aldo Raine), who both appear to be having a whale of a time, while Melanie Laurent, as vengeful survivor Shoshanna provides the soul of the piece. Packed with a thesis-load of references, this is a story about the importance of language and the simultaneously redemptive and disruptive power of cinema; it’s also a useful reminder of an era in which making war on “the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin’, mass murderin’ maniac” was generally held to be a good idea. A little more back-story on some of the “Basterds” might have been nice, but maybe it’s good that the filmmaker allows us space to use our imaginations. Masterful.


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