23.8.09

Ingluorious Basterds

What a movie! First off, SWMBO enjoyed it. A lot. Which helps my cause.

Secondly the treatment of the subject matter was very ballsy and Tarantino has definitely pulled it off well. The movie is essentially a bunch of conversations. Two people talk about the nature of rats, featuring over sized smoking pipes. Three people meet a woman in an obscure tavern, featuring a lot of mayhem. And all these conversations lead to the unconventional, frankly bizarre, but thoroughly enjoyable climax. At the end of all the mayhem, the director remembered to introduce just a quiet post-script, mocking the master race and creating an ending, which probably, people will try to imitate for a long time to come.

Like a character in the movie says, 'You are getting pretty good at this'. 16 years after Reservoir Dogs ,Tarantino shows the same maniacal genius with which he is able to convince us to shell out our money to walk into an unlikely story which leaves people equally horrified and begging for more. The pace is actually pretty slow, punctuated by moments of violence and extreme emotion - be it Shoshanna reacting after the completely placid hotel conversation over Strudel or Stiglitz accounting for himself in the marksmanship department in the tavern. The pace picks up to the end, the climax is out of this world. The movie studiously avoids dramatics until in one brief scene it leaps at you, out of the blue, and leaves you spellbound. Its truly like reading a book and thank you, QT for a wonderful narration.

And the epilogue must come in for special mention. In all this nonsense about Branjelina, how we missed the fact that Brad Pitt can act like no one else. If anything, this is probably Brad's masterpiece. He has very little screen time - but he has massive screen presence. No one could have pulled off the initiation scene, where he picks 8 soldiers for his elite Nazi killing squad, like him.

But the true and real star of the movie is Hans Landa. An unknown Cristoph Waltz, in the role of a lifetime. As the character walks through his seemingly innocuous patter, he injects this little bit of fear in you - its hard to imagine that a man talking innocently of strudel, milk and reading out of census details, in a time of great fear and tragedy, can be anything BUT evil. Outlandish and full of pent-up rage, Hans Landa could have been the everyman caricature of a Gestapo officer, but turns out to be a different kind of an antagonist. It is he who is the real tie-in, who carries the whole movie on his shoulders - the story would not have been possible without Landa.

Its hard to see someone take on history and come up with a non sequitur ending. On the whole a great watch on a rainy night.