There are certain directors with whom the critics seem to lose all sense of reason. Guy Ritchie being a prime example. Revolver was roundly panned but I found it richly intriguing, but my old mate Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian took the biscuit with his “review” of Rockandrolla where he attempted to show us how wonderfully whimsical and ironic he was without actually coming remotely near to doing his job such is his loathing of Ritchie.
Quentin Tarentino is a similar case in point and I reached for the off switch when I heard Mark Kermode about to muse on Radio Five Live about the American’s latest offering, the oddly monikored Inglorious Basterds.
From Reservoir Dogs through to Death Proof, Tarentino has been forced to run the gauntlet of the liberal elite with their barely credible charges of misogynism and torture porn. From the frothing outrage of the Daily Mail to the sniffing of the Guardianistas, Tarantino has has managed to upset most of the media which alone makes him a great film maker in my book.
Frippery aside I happen to rate Quentin Tarentino as a truly original director who always makes challenging and thought provoking films. The only one I didn’t like was Jackie Brown and there is no coincidence that it was one of his more anodyne efforts as Tarentino is at his best when he stretches cinema convention to near breaking point.
Inglorious Basterds does this job by twisting fantasy and reality in a World War Two setting as we are party to the exploits of a crack Jewish American Special Forces unit who are parachuted into Nazi Occupied Europe with the express instruction of killing as many German leaders as possible. There are embellishments, as you would expect to the killing, putting no doubt in the mind as to why this is an 18 cert film but it’s in context no matter what the torture porn brigade have to say.
The plot thickens when the crew get mixed up in a plot to assassinate the whole of the Nazi leadership in cahoots with a British agent superbly played by a hammy Michael Fassbender, but the main acting plaudits go to Christoph Waltz as a Jew hunting SS man. The opening chapter is completely out of the comic context of the rest of the film as this Officer gently interrogates a French farmer but there is a chilling denouement to the scene.
Brad Pitt’s performance was infuriating as to my mind he wasted a great opportunity to deliver an OTT comic role akin to his performance in Snatch. His character has many facets and it just seemed to me that Pitt was just going through the motions.
Someone asked me what category this film would come under, and that’s the genius of Quentin Tarantino as the answer is usually “I have no idea”.