Inglourious Basterds/Inglorious Bastards

I saw Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds last week and followed that up by watching Enzo Castellari’s Inglorious Bastards at the weekend.

Tarantino’s film is disappointingly self-indulgent but includes moments which are tantalizingly sublime. Overall it makes for a frustrating viewing experience, pretty much like everything Tarantino’s directed since Pulp Fiction but even more so.

Veteran German actor Christoph Waltz shines brightly as the villainous Col. Hans Landa and is no doubt fielding floods of offers from Hollywood as a consequence. Although he’s hampered slightly by inconsitencies in the script, he manages to give his character depth which is missing from Brad Pitt’s Lt. Aldo Raine and his one-dimensional band of Nazi-scalping Jews.

Italian director Castellari, apart from being a superior speller, is a much more straightforward film-maker than Tarantino. His Inglorious Bastards, originally released as Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato (literally “That Damned Armoured Train”), is a no-nonsense war movie with a linear plot and plenty of action. The film has just been remastered for release on DVD and is being sold at a bargain price in order to promote the cinema release of Inglourious Basterds. Pick it up because it’s well-made and entertaining enough to be good value for money.

One of the extras on the new DVD release is an interview with the director conducted by Quentin Tarantino. I mention this because the viewing experience is unpleasant in such a way that it highlights precisely what is wrong with Tarantino.

The interview is a chance for two talented directors to talk about film-making and for Tarantino to probe Castellari on a film which has clearly inspired him and is of particular significance. Castellari is unassuming and english is not his first language, whereas Tarantino is in contrast manic and overenthusiastic about the clutter of his own mind. The result is Castellari gets bombarded by the dominating presence of Tarantino. They should be talking about Castellari’s film, but Tarantino insists on tying everything into his own experiences and aspirations. In other words, he appropriates everything and in doing so fails to fully appreciate perspectives contrary to his own.

When it comes to writing and directing, Tarantino has always written for himself. Because of his immense popularity, he now has free reign to indulge any whim which may take him. Consequently, his films of the last ten years are a jumble of ideas and references. There is a sense that if he were more selective during the creative process he might just turn out a cohesive masterpiece.

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2 Responses to “Inglourious Basterds/Inglorious Bastards”

  1. i’ve just posted my review, and from reading yours and dip’s review, i think i liked this movie the most!

  2. David Bowie & Giorgi Moroder …awesomeness!! but yeah I agree with your review.

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