Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Chronological displacement probably wouldn't have helped Basterds - conversations detailing upcoming action sequences won't seem any less redundant if you've already seen the sequences - but it might have made the film less of a slow clomp towards obvious, unmemorable pay-offs. I'd need to see Death Proof again to tell which recent Tarantino effort enjoyed less. In both cases, he relies on charismatic performers to make do with his waning knack for dialogue (can't say I heard a new Royale With Cheese in either), but Proof's languid masturbation may have more verve than this thin epic (only 16 scenes!) when it's not preceded by jolt-o-ramas from less indulgent directors.

If it wasn't for Kill Bill's swordplay, it'd be tempting to suggest Tarantino never had the knack for grand kineticism he's shown for smaller scale violence (from Bill's split-screen to this film's slo-mo, Tarantino makes a shitty DePalma, too). While I understand the cultural catharsis this historically inaccurate revenge fantasy provides for the chosen, I expect to get more from the violent paybacks in Robert Rodriguez's upcoming historically inaccurate revenge fantasy Machete. Had Rodriguez run this, you know that shot of Samm Levine screaming with a machine gun would have made the final cut. Fuck a literary-themed card game! This is supposed to be a historically inaccurate revenge fantasy!

Damningly symbolic of these neglected opportunities is a Mike Myers cameo less rewarding than his turn as Steve Rubell in the historically inaccurate revenge fantasy 54. In an ILX thread comparing QT to the Coens, I claimed I couldn't imagine the former ever wallowing in the miserabilism you expect from aging auteurs. I'm glad I can't see him using a genre piece to ask what it all means, but self-amusement alone won't keep his crackerjack edge from dulling. Maybe it's more noteworthy when a mix of Roger Corman and Eric Rohmer doesn't suck.

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