To say that I’m no fan of Quentin Tarantino is no exaggeration. I find Tarantino gifted, but the gift lies not in his direction, his cinematography or his script-writing: it is his deep knowledge of the cinema and a twisted sense of æsthetics, ethics and bold storytelling fascinate and engage audiences and critics alike. But are his films worthy of the praise and celebration they’ve garnered over the years?
I think not. While Reservoir Dogs and, to a lesser extent, Pulp Fiction, introduced a fresh, raw perspective on crime films, a style that subsequently became Tarantino’s trademark, all of his later works, with the exception perhaps of Jackie Brown, were mediocre and shallow entertainment.
Inglourious Basterds is no exception. It is a very entertaining movie that satisfies a viewer watching it, having come to the theatre with zero expectations; it’s fun and easy to watch, its characters caricatures, more suited to a comic rather than a film, but nevertheless likeable and entertaining. But it’s far from what Tarantino subtly tries to make it: a big movie worthy of any sort of presence in Cannes, a brilliant story, whose script was worked upon for more than a decade, an epic portraying Tarantino’s idea of the racial and sociological status quo in World War II France. Basterds is not even close to evoking any sentiment or engaging the audience in this respect.
I found the soundtrack annoying at times and detracting from the quality of the movie. I have to mention Christoph Waltz’s fantastic performance as the Nazi ‘Jew Hunter’ officer. Overall, I think Inglourious Basterds is an entertaining movie that once again proves Tarantino’s skill in creating entertaining movies for the masses, using the same tools and concepts he introduced around twenty years ago with Reservoir Dogs. Too bad that’s all he has to offer.