Saturday, April 24, 2010

Inglorious basterds

At the heart of the film is savagery, bereft of tenderness, brimming with menace.

And Tarantino is THE master of menace. He creates it with consummate ease - he leads you up, he holds your hand gently, and then he let's you fall, nay, hurtle down, like a rollercoaster which only goes down.

He fills his films with an elegantly raw artistry and his own special slow-burning build-up. You could liken it to a long foreplay, or you could call it the tease of a talented sadist.

See how he starts this film. Pretty girls, lush French countryside landscapes, romance in the soundtrack - all these fill your senses. But its not long before you realize all of it is not for the heart or the heart-break; it only exists for the heart-attack.

Tarantino brings his love for interweaving stories and cinema into play. He weaves complexity with relish , and finds World War 2 as happy hunting ground.

As a director, Tarantino brings the amazing out of his actors, time and again - Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Kurt Russell, Darryl Hannah, Luis Lui, just to name a few. Here, we have Brad Pitt trying out his Brando-pose and Soutern brogue with broad brushes. And finds opposite him a smooth (name), a little known German actor, who underplays his animal, with tease and ease.

Tarantino writes with an overpowering sense of ironical humour and humorous irony.

There's Wild West in the soudtrack when the Nazis come, the Jew hunter smokes a pipe which is straight from the Marx brothers. A bloody confrontation is preceded with a game with placards affixed on foreheads. And the fantasy finds its end in the very place where all fantasies start and end - the cinema hall.

After a linear Death Proof, Tarantino returns to his complex story-telling - interweaving stories, flashbacks which pop in without warning, quotidian conversation which work like the sharpening of a knife, and the shock of an in-the-face denouement.

It is no surprise that the last line in the film is "My best work so far, eh?." Hmm, with Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs in ones CV, its a tough one to answer. But, oh yes, a rousing addition to the pantheon, indeed.

~ Sunil Bhandari
Oct 1, 2009
Sent on my BlackBerry