Inglourious Bastards: Okay, a little glorious


Quentin Tarantino packs a punch like usual with his Nazi slap-in-the-face, Inglourious Bastards, showing an organized, street-like Jewish rebellion: The bastards. A crew of Nazi killers who remove the German’s scalps for treasure, and wipe out whole scouting parties to the point of making a name for themselves amongst the Nazis. It’s well acted all around, and rightfully won Christoph Waltz an Oscar for his role as a cruel German officer, or ‘The Jew Hunter’ and features a very dense plot, with several story-lines weaving into one, like the Director did in one of his earlier films, ‘Pulp Fiction’.

The movie is somewhat exploitative in the way it takes a terrible event in history and turns it into a showcase and excuse for being terribly violent; yet, its rewarding in more ways than this, and Jewish folk are a bit to modest to make a movie so audacious: Roman Polanski making this film would be much different than Tarantino making it, and people no doubt can make the distinction. Lt. Aldo Rain (Brad Pitt), is leading a team of Jew-recruits into the heart of Germany; their scenes are the most exciting, like a scene taking place at a bar where a member of the crew is trying to fit in amongst a table of hearty German officers. The result is not a gentle tip of the hat and a salutation, the bastards send bullets in all possible directions. This leaves a famous German actress, alive but wounded in the leg,  for their taking: they use her as sabotage to access a party for the Fuhrer, later in the film.

A young Jewish girl, Bridget Von Hammersmark, who escaped Lieutenant Hans earlier in the film, becomes a theater owner at a fairly young age, having inherited it, and becomes the attraction of a young and famous German soldier, who, as a a hiding Jew, she internally could never love. He’s more than just a soldier, too: he is a star in a new German film where he solely sits at the top of a clock-tower and shoots down Jews below. The fuhrer loves it, but Bridget comes up with a plan to show the Germans their cruelty, a down-pouring of beautiful revenge: Let the theater on fire. And with the easily combustible film of that era, it would not be difficult for it to actually happen.

The film is a fantastic genre-blend of action, violence, and alternate history, featuring typically memorable characters from Tarantino, some hypnotic scenes, and an all around entertaining flick: Inglourious Bastards is far from a disappointment from Tarantino.

Film Review: Reservoir Dogs

Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs takes place in a static location, a warehouse, and re-tells its story through the wounds of its characters and the conflicts of choice they debate about. Paranoid, hate-drive, rowdy, and self-interested only partly describes the emotions of the hit-men rendezvousing at the safe warehouse; among them is Harvery Keitel as Mr. White, Tim Roth as Mr. Orange, Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde, and Steve Buscemi as Mr. Pink.

The film is a great compilation of actors with a clear future, but is not at a level to compare it to great mobster flicks; well-executed and brimming with Tarantino’s dialogue, but still with the feeling of an outsider looking it, the film adds no knowledge to the business of the mob, but creates a scene with style and excitement. The black-suits and sympathetic characters are a welcome addition to the guiltless genre, particularly Harvey Keitel’s fatherly character.

The Jewelry heist that happens before the rendesvous, which is shown in maniacal flashbacks in the midst of the heist, is an interesting choice from the director; some would say if your staging it from one place, understand it all just that one place. But the flashbacks reveal how it happened and how the characters reacted to it, which essentially is very key to show for the plot of Reservoir Dogs.

The heist is organized by Joe Cabot, a large bald hoarse-talker, alongside his son, Nice Guy Eddie Cabot, played by Sean Penn, who is really a funny persona of confidence and demands; he simply insures that the jobs his daddy demands go through smoothly, doesn’t actually perform any aspect of the heist, or at least we aren’t told he does.

The film ends on a conclusive point, a wrap-up like a Hitchcock tale, and keeps its structure precise and calculated by the screenplay’s demand; a taut, entertaining look at a one-job heist and who ultimately gets away with what they wanted.

Film Review: Pulp Fiction

Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is one of the loudest culture-vehicle films, like Lucas’ American Graffiti, and takes an entertaining spin on the gangster genre. It stars John Travolta as gangster Vincent Vega, and his partner Jules, played by Samuel L. Jackson in one of his most iconic roles. The way the movie is structured, it flips around to different story-lines and then returns to the older ones, while sometimes seeing them in the scene of another character.  It features Bruce Willis as a paid Boxer, and Uma Thurman as the boss’ sassy and drug-drawn wife, like Elvira in Scarface.

The scene of Vincent and Jules parked in front of an apartment complex, opening the trunk for their guns, reveals how Tarantino deconstructs the gangster flick. He wants people to hear their conversations up to the action of killing-not just the bloody action itself. But he also shows no wisdom or intellect for their gangsters–though often hilarious–Vincent and Jules seem to be so stunted and familiar with killing to the point of it feeling like their delivering a pizza. They talk about rumors–and debate over trivial things–but when it comes time for the kill, they are no less than frightening. Jules recites a section from the bible, he says later just because it seems like a bad-ass thing to say, and Samuel L. Jackson pitches it out with sheer intensity.

Bruce Willis plays the Boxer, who betrays his dealings with Marcellus Wallace, Vincent and Jules’ boss, for a deal on another end, presumably for more money. But what turns out to be a sly and quick getaway for the boxer, he finds out later his girlfriend, an airhead sex-doll, has forgotten his most valued possession: his grandfather’s watch. He returns home to find it, amidst the gangster’s looking for him, and miraculously gets through the house without being shot. But then, when he is driving out of the city, he encounters Marcellus, the boss himself, walking across the street; this is definitely an ode to Hitchcock’s psycho, when the woman steals the banks’ money and finds the boss’ guilty-looking eyes prying into her as he walks across the street. But Marcellus doesn’t give an odd gaze, he opens fire.

The film is a strong entry into the gangster genre and shows Tarantino’s signature genre-blending style. Pulp Fiction delivers laughs, action, and memorable dialogue; a cult favorite, and a great, albeit immoral, showcase of a generation.