The Balzman reviews INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS at Cannes!
Hey folks, Harry here with the second review we've received from Cannes of INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Here ya go...
Long time reader...first time contributer. I just got out of the Inglorious Basterds screening at Cannes earlier today, and wanted to share some thoughts...I'll keep things minor spoiler-ish only (I'm sure there were a bunch of people that read the leaked script last September, so no need to explain the plot).
To sum it up in one word: HOLYSHITOHMYGODWOWOWOW.
Yeah, I mean, what were you expecting? It's fucking exceptional. Now I have some pretty decent complaints (which I will address) but here's why Inglorious Basterds is great, and might be the masterpiece Tarantino was hoping to make...
To me, I have always found Tarantino as a more interesting director than as a screenwriter...Everyone knows Tarantino's bread and butter lies with his dialogue and structure, but honestly, you know why Tarantino is great? Because his visual eye is so alive and he gets not just great performances out of his actors BUT fascinating ones. All of his films are perfectly casted and capture such interesting performances...David Carradine, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell - Tarantino knows just how to push them. And I think that while Inglorious Basterds has all of the classic Tarantino hallmarks - titles, dialogue, structure, etc. it's the acting and pacing that really just shows how much of a master Tarantino is.
And the first clear example is Christoph Waltz aka The Jew Hunter. Get this man an Oscar nod NOW. He is beyond superb in the role - calm, collected, and gets deep under your skin. If anything, the film is as much about him as it is Soshanna's or the Basterds...I would go into the key moments when you really see just how amazing this performance is, but to avoid a ton of spoilers...let's just say that his interrogations are just so fucking creepy and calculated and TENSE (there is also a moment in the film where he breaks down in laughter that was just so incredible to watch...you will know what I mean when you see it). Tense is really the word to describe this film...the pacing is a little slow at first, but once you get into the groove, you can see just how perfectly this movie unfolds.
Also, something interesting to note - at least over half of the film is non-English. IB plays with the idea of language confusion and barriers during WWII, and really nails that atmosphere in this flick. Huge scenes are played out in both French, German and English, and it really shows the testament of QT's abilities that these actors are always convincing, no matter what dialect. There's a scene midway in the film (the bar scene for those who have read it) probably the best part of the whole film, that's done almost entirely in French and German - you will be in awe with just how masterful the acting is. It really is outstanding. (Side Note: The Nazis, all of them portrayed in the film, are portrayed so perfectly I wonder just how much of it is actual historical research or QT's wild imagination...you will laugh and be shocked at the same time).
And yes, it's already been said that this movie is wayyyyy more talky than the trailers or even QT let on...but I loved it, and this is from someone who thought Death Proof was pretty mediocre (if you listen very closely, you can hear the sound of QT's typewriter in probably every scene in Death Proof). IB is different though - while it mainly centers around confrontations/dialogue scenes (with a huge fucking bloodbath at the end), the dialogue is taught and adds so much tension. There is no storming Normandy scene or huge action packed sequences a la Kill Bill, but not once will you be bored, I promise.
Now...my complaints? Two big ones: 1. I really, really, really think Brad Pitt was miscast. I know I just raved about the acting, and he was good, but something about him...I don't know. It didn't fit Aldo The Apache. It felt like Brad Pitt forcing a Confederate General from the South accent. It worked for other people, but it just didn't gel for me (now Thomas Jane in the role...that could have been interesting). 2. The film could have been a litttttle bit tighter. The dialogue scenes were pitch perfect but there were a few times when it could have been cut down just a little bit (Shoshanna getting dressed for the premiere night is one that comes to mind immediately, probably the British meeting as well). The film didn't feel long, per se, but maybe it'll be a bit shorter come August.
Honestly, that's it. This movie is a big step forward for Tarantino - it feels like the natural evolution from the Kill Bill films. If anything, this film feels the least bit "homage"-like out of any of QT's movies...the hallmarks are there, but you can feel that he is onto something different with this film. And even if QT feels like this is a big culmination of his work or even a masterpiece (time will tell on that one), it is by far the best film of the year and a pretty strong contender if you ask me at Cannes (most of the films have been pretty boooring). Just trust me - you're gonna love it.
If you decide to use this...call me the Balzman.