feedingbrett’s review published on Letterboxd:
Many people regarded Death Proof as a disappointment and they were all hoping that Tarantino will come back to his best form in his next film, though I did think highly of Death Proof, and what a come back he did. Inglourious Basterds is his 6th film and it shows Tarantino going back to the things that made his film great whilst doing something unique.
Inglourious Basterds is written by Quentin Tarantino, and he has rewritten history with this film. In doing that, it does run the line of controversy as people may think of his vision or retelling as ridiculous or pompous. I never saw it that way, because I never gave this film the seriousness that I usually would give to a film like Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan, instead I came into this looking for some fun and that is definitely what I got. Tarantino here has brought back the non-linear approach to his storytelling. He dedicates the first three chapters of the film as an introduction to the key players of the last chapter, and having the 4th Chapter 'Operation Kino' as the driving plot point. Tarantino has avoided his first three chapters to repeat themselves and telling us what we already know, instead it dedicates each one solely to it's characters and nothing else. It kept me hooked because with each chapter, he adds on more information that we didn't know which builds it all up for the last two chapters of the film. Tarantino has played around with history in this film, which is definitely a first for him, and he would later do this for Django, but not to the degree of change and impact that this film demonstrates. The film shows off entertaining and quirky characters, which hasn't been found in his films since his 90's flicks. Tarantino has given his characters much more depth here than most of his previous films would give, and he continuous it with his next film, and it does allow me to connect with these characters more and understand their inner workings due to their given back-stories. The dialogue in this film is top notch, at times very reminiscent of the style that was used for Pulp Fiction, as it kept me more interested as more words come out from these characters. Tarantino was also able to add in for his characters, the knowledge he has on film of that era which I thought was a nice touch. To some people, they may see it as a return to Tarantino's indulgent style of dialogue but that's what makes his films special in the first place, so the more the better.
Not at all did the film bore me, this is because Tarantino is in love with his own dialogue and he makes it the star of the scene. Tarantino fills the scene with dialogue, as a build up of sorts towards the violent and explosive ending that the scene needs in order to be relieved and pumped for what comes next. As I said before the non-linear storytelling of the film and using the bulk of the film to create and introduce it's characters, it doesn't get boring as it doesn't repeat itself and always give off something new. Some people find a lot of Tarantino's films to have a pacing problem and I can understand where they are coming from, but Inglourious Basterds is one of those films that felt like it moves forwards all the time regardless how still a scene may seem because it keeps throwing interesting things your way and in a lot of scenes, Tarantino was able to convey tension that keeps you on the edge of your seat thinking something might happen. Ultimately, Tarantino is just making a revenge film set in the era of World War 2, and people may complain that it lacks a bit of substance and never asks any questions about morality and doesn't put the Germans, or the Americans for that matter based on the method of their killings, trial for their actions. I don't really think it needed that because, that's not what this film is meant to be, this is supposed to be just a fun revenge flick. Tarantino has used non-English dialogue with subtitles in his previous films, Kill Bill, and now he has put that up front with this film, using it as a style in making this film unique and allowing the film to feel more genuine.
Robert Richardson is back to do another of Tarantino's film and with each film I start to see a connection and understanding of each other's visions. Richardson understands what the film needs to create that homage atmosphere that Tarantino intends his films to look like. Richardson and Tarantino has brought back their trademark shots like long takes and the trunk shot. Because this film is a dialogue driven film, Richardson contains a lot more closeups than his previous films and this does allow us to get in touch with these characters and see the emotional rumblings that they hide behind the facade due to the current situation, especially Melanie Laurent's character. As time gone by, Tarantino's vision has gotten bigger with scripts that are very ambitious and an increase in budget, this allows the characters to be not too confined in a certain space and allowing the film to have multiple and a variation in locations to shoot. The film's photography seems to strip away the over saturation of it's colors, like Kill Bill and Death Proof, and takes a more darker and grimier look for the film.
The film doesn't contain a composer writing an original score, instead it uses soundtracks that are more score driven. The tracks that are chosen are Sergio Leone/Ennio Morricone inspired, which on paper would be an odd choice as it suits more of the Western era but after seeing this film, you hardly even notice it and at the end you realize that it actually works. There are specific moments that are supported by a track that makes the moment seem perfect but Tarantino has the habit of cutting it off and not giving the scene a proper conclusion, which gives off a comedic feel and prevents it from being too melodramatic.
Brad Pitt may be seen as the frontrunner of the film but the film is more of an ensemble piece. The first three chapters are dedicated to a certain character(s), and this allows these actor(s) to shine in their segments. Brad Pitt definitely brings a surge of energy in this film, working with a character that feels almost specifically written for him. The other standout was Christoph Waltz, playing a character that has a personality that I have haven't seen before. Waltz brings such charm and personality to a character that is regarded by most people as the ultimate Jew killer. The Supporting Actor win at the Oscars for Waltz was definitely deserving. Tarantino has used an international cast before but not as diverse as this film. Inglourious Basterds has made a star and showcased the talents of actors like Melanie Laurent and Daniel Bruhl. Though Michael Fassbender has been on films before this like 300 but this film put him on the map, the bar scene segment was tense and thrilling and a part of it is due to Fassbender's performance.
Inglourious Basterds is a remarkable film and a demonstration of Tarantino's ability to take something that has been used a billion times in films and make it feel fresh and unique. The film boasts wonderful dialogue, amazing sequences, fantastic performances front actors, smart choice of music, and excellent photography. Inglourious Basterds is a rival for the number one spot for my favorite Tarantino films.