Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Inglourious Basterds and The Departed.

These are the sorts of things that made me quit being a music major halfway through the first quarter in my fourth year and decide to do film instead.

O Quentin, My Quentin: Inglourious Basterds, 2009, directed by Quentin Tarantino.

"In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis." (IMDB)

This is not Tarantino's finest film. Diane Kruger, blah, Eli Roth, NO (bears don't have loud outbursts, just let your bat do the talking) and the scene in the basement pub was ages longer than it should have been, but other than that? Still very enjoyable. Brad Pitt is an excellent buffoon. I loved Melanie Laurent as Shosanna (in fact, would I be in the market for any more children down the road, which I'm not, the name would be Emmanuel (le) were it a boy or girl, after Shosanna's vengeful alter-ego). Music, killer, as always. Good use of the John Ford doorway at Lapadite's place ala John Wayne in The Searchers, ala David Carradine in Kill Bill, or any other outsider who is not *supposed* to come inside. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) however, does come inside.

Oui, Shosanna!
Was there ever anyone so slippery? Or cunning? Every scene he was in gave me goosebumps. It was hard to know how to feel about him, obviously he's evil, but he's brilliant and sneaky too. And as it turns out, not above getting caught in his own web of lies. First he loves his nickname, then he hates his nickname? "You don't know why you hate the rat, you just do," (vermin as some sort of obvious metaphor for the Jewish people, yet, this great Jew-hunter is unable to identify someone he shot at as she sits inches from him?) This fascination I had with him quickly turned to disgust once he started chawing that damned Apfelstrudel; chewing noises are where I draw the line. Nonetheless, best supporting actor in 2009, I think it was right on the mark.

The greater theme here, as always, is DON'T FUCK WITH ME. This is why I love, love, love Quentin Tarantino. I think he must dig his mother a lot, because he writes such amazing stories and illustrates such powerful scenes of women's struggles, while not taking anything away from the men. This sort of thing Is. My. Bag, baby.

Irish Mean Streets: The Departed, 2006, directed by Martin Scorcese.

"Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the Massachusetts State Police and the Irish mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles are dispatched to find out their enemy's identities." IMDB.

The Cranberry Juice Dispute.
I love this, too. Some of the scenes between Matt Damon and Vera Farmiga were a little uncomfortable and clunky, realistic, I guess, but just not great.  Everything else was right on. Music killer, as always. Were there any VO narratives on freeze frames? I can't remember. Oscar for Marty, best director of 2006 and God Dammit, it was about time. And although I really, really enjoyed this, something about those Italian thugs from Providence getting whacked just didn't sit right with me in this, ("let's not cry over some spilled Guineas,"); one of them had to be connected to Paulie, right? Boston ain't that far away from New York, right? Right?

Textbook verbiage on theme in a Martin Scorcese picture? "spiritually-charged moral conflict." (A Short History of the Movies by Mast and Kawin) I prefer the DeNiro variety; I think I'll put Casino on the books for December, yeah?


Donald said...

Christoph Waltz was AMAZING, and that opening scene was so perfect that nothing else quite matched it. But Like this film, even if I didn't completely love it. It just didn't really have enough of a story to maintain a feature length. But it was fun.

And so was the Departed, even if it felt like an Irish Goodfellas, only nowhere near as good.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

I just heard the other day (I think on Jeopardy) that The Departed was Scorsese's highest grossing film. For me, it's not one of his most memorable, but I did like it a lot.

Donald said...

Inglorious Basterds just didn't come together for me at the end, and it was the worse for it.

There were all of these branching storylines and I couldn't wait to see how they all came together... and they didn't. There was no point for the Basterds at all, since they did absolutely nothing. All of those people they shot were going to die anyway in the fire. What was the point? It was a wonderfully acted film with great dialogue but such a poor, ill thought out plot. But it's fun.