Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious BasterdsInglourious indeed

So there's this kid, let's say maybe nine or ten, and he comes out of school one day all fired up with indignation after a history class on the Second World War. Now this kid is a bit of a comic book fan and he has a way with words (though he's not too good on spelling), so he sits down and he writes a story about what he would have done to Hitler if he had had the chance. Witness 'Inglourious Basterds'.
Any review of this film will say it's about a troop of American Jewish soldiers dropped into Nazi-occupied Europe to kill soldiers, and then scalp them. It's not. That's a high concept that explains one chapter (the movie is split into chapters), but it fails to take into account the other stories that ultimately interwine for the final sub-Aldrich bloodbath ('The Dirty Dozen' is an underused influence here). Each tale, however, is just as childish, something highlighted by a silly Mike Myers cameo. Entertaining, often, but about as mature as an easy single.
The Tarantino name being what it is, the film is jam-packed with talent. The German actors (Brühl, Waltz, Kruger) are excellent, while Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna is a stand-out. Pitt, Roth et al. do what they have to do as cardboard cut-outs (Pitt might make a great Popeye). There are some nicely staged scenes, impressive shots and, wow, isn't Tarantino clever to hold our enjoyment of killing Nazis up to us with onscreen Germans enjoying a film of Allies being killed. But let us be under no misapprehension, this is a cartoon. (I was initially going to qualify that with a 'for adults', but it's not, it is a long, live-action cartoon, period.) It passes the time, but so do 'Tom and Jerry' (possibly an alternative title?). If this is what the best of today's cinema can give us, I think I'll stick with the '40s.

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