After the two-hour anti-climax that was Kill Bill, Vol. 2 and the unwatchable section of Grindhouse, Death Proof, I have to admit that my expectations for the newest installment in the Quentin Tarantino catalog were pretty low.
Luckily, Inglourious Basterds wasn't overflowing with female characters for Quentin Tarantino for whom to write abysmal dialogue.
I think what warmed me up most for the film was hearing Tarantino on Fresh Air when the film was released. Coming across as far less spastic, hearing this interview was the perfect primer.
With over a week to separate myself from the film, I have to say that it was a welcome return to--well, maybe it wasn't a return to form, per se, but it was certainly a welcome return to the realm of entertaining filmmaking.
It had been six long years since I walked out of a theater having enjoyed a Tarantino release. A long enough time that I was beginning to doubt he'd be able to regain his touch.
While IB is perhaps a little long, it never crossed that line into the watch-checking family of three-hour films. No performances stuck out as being particularly flat (even that of Rod Taylor, the leaden leading man of the 50s and 60s who "starred" in such weak fare as The Time Machine and The Birds). Despite the complaints of some that Brad Pitt's accent was over-the-top, I thought it worked pretty well within the context of the film, and his speaking of Italian in his Tennessean accent was hilarious.
What is maybe most unique about the film, is the catharsis it is able to provide its viewers. Unlike any other WWII film, Inglourious Basterds sees Hitler graphically slaughtered by Allied Forces--his face ripped apart by a slew of bullets.
As for the violence: While it was graphic at times, I was a little surprised that it wasn't a little more hardcore. Maybe I have been desensitized to the point of it being disturbing that I was bothered so little, but I didn't really think there was that much to be shocked by. Sure, the scalpings were graphic, but there really weren't that many of them. Maybe it's fucked up that I laughed during one of them...
The movie was entertaining. That's what most movies are supposed to be. There's a little unconventional catharsis thrown into the mix. That's cool. You never know who's going to die or when they're going to get it. There is a tension that such unpredictability lends to a film that certainly helps its cause.
I can't say it's a flawless film, but so few are.
See it if you like scalpings and bludgeonings.