I don’t think I’ve ever uttered an “UGH!” as sonorously and dramatically (and yet, as sincerely), as I did after I saw this movie. What a tragic waste of my time.
This film had so much going for it:
“Quentin Tarantino—he’s so cool. He’s such a misunderstood genius. What a renegade! He’s quirky. I loved Pulp Fiction.” Great.
“Brad Pitt—OMG I love him! Who doesn’t love him?! He says ‘Nazis’ with that funny accent in the preview. Pitt AND Tarantino?!” Cool.
“Inglourious Basterds—what an intriguing title! I wonder why the spelling is incorrect. What could it mean?!” Hmm…
So, as I left the theater I couldn’t help but think why I hated this movie so much.
And the major reason was the gratuitous violence. Yes, I know it’s a Tarantino film…I get that. But the blood and gore in this movie was so overdone, so pointless, that it actually negated the narrative for me; I was most bored during the film’s most climactic, and bloody, action scenes. I am not offended by blood and violence if they’re imperative elements to the narrative and tastefully presented. But this…this was merely glorified violence for the sake of Tarantino’s entertainment…while watching the Basterds scalping, carving swastikas into foreheads, and bashing brains out of Nazis, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow…it’s amazing to me how critics and audiences are completely indulging the sick mind of a man who clearly has unresolved mommy issues and surely drowned puppies as a child.” It kills me that because Tarantino is legitimized by the critics, the public has been granted permission to enjoy violence like this, and to feel cool enjoying it.
The thing is, I really wanted to like this movie, and there were things I did like. I mean, I definitely think Tarantino knows how to make movies:
I liked his use of close-up shots. I loved staring into the characters’ eyes; Tarantino always casts real actors, not just pretty faces, and their faces, rather than their dialogue, often narrated scenes. I loved that I was able to see constellations of pockmarks and pores, out of place hairs, and other imperfections that other filmmakers often conceal in movies; they reminded me of the characters’ humanity.
I liked how Tarantino used lighting to create the perfect mood for a scene, and the way that dialogue was often delivered in an old Hollywood style.
I really enjoyed his use of music…over-the-top dramatic and scene-ruining in such a deliberate and humorous way that it actually enhanced the entire film. And the fact that he used a David Bowie song in a WWII-era film—so cool.
I enjoyed the cuts from loud, chaotic, violent scenes to silent, actionless ones. It messed with my emotions and forced me to pay attention to what I was feeling.
But I still totally hated this movie.
I recognize that Quentin Tarantino has the talent, the insight, and the capacity to tell stories well.
I just wish he would choose better stories to tell.