Inglourious Basterds (2009) dir. Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christophe Waltz, Eli Roth
By Alan Bacchus
I’m so incredible happy ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is getting some decent awards season buzz – a shock really since it's idiosyncratic genre cinema all the way. A film as highly regarded as ‘Kill Bill’ was years early, but somehow the zeitgeist movement of awards buzz shifted positively towards Basterds. I’m not complaining. It’s one of the best films of the year – a great cinematic experience and certainly Tarantino's most wholly satisfying picture since ‘Pulp Fiction.’
The DVD arrives in time to capitalize on this early buzz. Already it’s received some key Golden Globe nominations, whatever prestige that earns. But I respect even greater its award for Best Picture of the year from the Toronto Film Critics Association – a group not known for succumbing to mass buzz and hysteria (last year they chose ‘Wendy and Lucy’ as Best Picture and this year chose Nicolas Cage in Bad Lieutenant as Best Actor).
The DVD experience admittedly isn’t as glourious as watching the film on the big screen, but there’s special features will feed the appetite of rabid fans like myself. There’s no commentary or delete scenes. QT even admits there were scenes cut out, but seems to have had enough integrity for his final cut not to reveal anything else but what was on screen. I highly respect that.
The treasure of the DVD is Elvis Mitchell’s interview with QT and Brad Pitt for KCRW’s radio program, ‘The Treatment’. As usual with Mitchell it’s an intellectual discussion of the film, but it contains enough of cinegeekness not to alienate regular people. Tarantino in interviews can be annoying at times, but he’s also reverential to his cinematic legacy and penitent to the filmmakers who influenced him. He’s also sharp in his self-analysis and articulate about his own personal style of filmmaker. Pitt and Tarantino make a good pairing dissecting the film and the process enough without completely sanding away the allure of the film.
A fun featurette mockumentary about the making of the film within a film – ‘Nation’s Pride’ – features Eli Roth playing a hilariously pretentious German director, proving he’s probably a better performer than director (we’ve yet to see another film since the abysmal ‘Hostel II’).
An extensive interview with minor player Rod Taylor (who played Winston Churchill) reveals the respect he has for even the bit players in his film and that casting down to a single line has personal significance to him. Taylor describes with joy the attention he got from Tarantino and his crew for his great work with Alfred Hitchcock, George Stevens, John Ford and others.
‘Inglourious Basterds’ may not win any award this season but the fact he’s on the radar of critics during this concentrated period of Oscar-baiting entries such as ‘Invictus’, ‘Nine’, ‘Avatar’ is a triumph but for fluffy little war film.
‘Inglourious Basterds’ is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Alliance Films
This is not part of the DVD, but an indication of his continued and outspokenness on the films of his contemporaries, specifically Paul Thomas Anderson: