Inglourious Basterds — Is Watching Quentin Tarantino Harder Now?
This week’s episode is all about Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino has a reputation — that’s undeniable. Some people hear Tarantino’s name and know there’s a fair shot they will love his latest film, while there are some who feel alright passing on it. There’s also a selection of college dorms that had Pulp Fiction posters pinned next to other frat-boy films, which includes Fight Club at best and Boondock Saints at worst.
It’s Hard to Watch Tarantino
There’s no wrong or right answer on how you feel about a creator’s work, right? It’s a question we struggle with, especially now that more and more women are taking a stand.
Coming into Inglourious Basterds, I had some reservations after reading Uma Thurman’s piece regarding the filming of Kill Bill and Tarantino’s non-responsivity to her complaints over Harvey Weinstein. This didn’t ruin the entire piece for me, but it did make certain portions awkward. The scene where Diane Kruger gets strangled was especially weird to watch, more than it would be if I didn’t read about Tarantino strangling Thurman already.
I’m not saying the movie is bad — but this is just something we will have to think about as we watch future works.
Tension At Its Finest
Focusing on the film itself, there are a lot of really great moments. The film is a well-crafted exercise in tension building, set between five major setpieces. Each chapter builds to a specific moment where characters face off, and the tension that takes you there is juicy and unavoidable. As the moments continue, so does the tension. It’s the kind of movie that rewards multiple watchings, allowing you to enjoy the mayhem on subsequent viewings.
As the film that launched Christoph Waltz’s American career, it’s great to see him in the Hans Landa role. He’s a scene stealer, and even though you know he’s dispicable, he’s just too fun to watch. I always feel weird when movies try to make Nazi characters likable, but at least we see by the end that he’s an amoral opportunist, rather than a true believer.
Is This The Story To Tell?
I found it interesting that there was some push back from people in the Jewish community over depicting violence in an equal playing field, because that could be interpreted by some to be a parallel between the groups. I do wonder if Tarantino had the right to make a Jewish revenge story himself — I give him credit for working with some Jewish actors, but I also feel that’s not necessarily his place to decide. Yet there is some catharsis to watching two young soldiers mow down Hitler and crew as the whole theater goes up in flames. But compared to the very real Jewish revenge story of Munich, the vengeance here seems comical.