Thursday, August 20, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

DAN - I've respected Quentin Tarantino's films in the past, but I've never considered myself a "fan." My personal DVD collection includes Reservoir Dogs and both Kill Bill volumes, each of which I've only watched a couple of times. Inglourious Basterds, however, lifted my appreciation for this filmmaker to a new level.

The word "visionary" is often associated with Tarantino. It might be ironic that he's often accused of ripping off other filmmakers, though he refers to his throwbacks as "homages." Either way, part of my newfound admiration for Tarantino comes from the niche he's created for himself. He made a name for himself in the early '90s with a string of innovative movies, and he's now known for his ability to write engaging dialogue - many consider him to be the best. Much of what I love about his newest film rests in what the characters say and how they say it.

Inglourious Basterds is more than just a showcase for violence. The bloody scenes are actually pretty scarce, though they can get pretty heavy handed. It's the dialogue in Basterds that stood out most to me. Tarantino knows how to craft multi-layered characters and put them in heart-pounding situations. It's like a fuse has been lit, and we're just waiting for the dynamite to explode. Several scenes in Basterds are works of art, thanks to both Tarantino's dialogue and the actors who deliver it.

Basterds features a slew of actors I've never heard of, and they're all fascinating to watch in their roles. Mélanie Laurent, Daniel Brühl, and especially Christoph Waltz are a pleasure to watch in this film. Waltz won the Best Actor award at Cannes this year for his turn as Colonel Hans Landa, who might be the most captivating character I've seen on the big screen this year.

I don't often notice the sound design in movies, but whoever worked on Basterds did a bang-up job. The sound in this film complimented the visuals in a way that provided a level of energy, adding to the tense nature of certain scenes. The sound design and cinematography worked together to create beautiful, startling, and terrifying moments throughout the film, all of which were welcome surprises.

I can't say Tarantino's films are for everyone. If you've seen any of his work, you already know this. If you're looking for an intense ride with an experienced, trailblazing director at the helm, this might be it. Tarantino is at the top of his game here, and for the first time this year, I feel like I need to see a movie twice in the theatre.

1 comment:

Adam said...

"Bang up job" - I get it Dan, good one.