Sunday, September 13, 2009

Up in Inglourious Flames

My favorite movie based on a Stephen King story is The Dead Zone directed by David Cronenberg and starring Christopher Walken. Walken plays Johnny, a man who, upon waking from a coma, is able to see events in the future. Johnny also learns he is able to change future events. When foresees that a political candidate, played by Martin Sheen, will become president, push the proverbial red button, and blast America into nuclear war, Johnny struggles with what to do. Johnny asks his doctor, a Holocaust survivor, if he could go back in time, knowing what he knew about Hitler, and change things, would he do it?

Quentin Tarantino's newest film
Inglourius Basterds is a revenge fantasy about a group of American Jewish soldiers in Nazi-occupied France who have one mission and one mission only--"killin' Nazis;" as well as a young Jewish woman seeking to exact revenge for the killing of her family. Through film, Tarantino, is able to travel back in time and exact a perfect revenge on Hitler and his highest ranking officers, re-imagining historical events in a cunning cinematic spectacle that ends in bullets and flames.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Oddly, I think it's probably one of Tarantino's more conventional films yet. Tarantino does does not play with time as much in his story-telling and he delivers a particularly slow and deliberate build up. The film is well over two hours. But it's never boring. It is a Tarantino flick, after all, and so that means gratuitous violence, including braining by baseball bat, [check], over-the-top characters --Aldous Raines (Brad Pitt) , aka "Aldo the Apache," and Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), aka the "Jew Hunter"--[check], and searing dialogue, [check]. How could you not be in for an "inglourious" ride?

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