• Another major feather in Tarantino’s cap
  • There’s so much to praise here, the Leone-esque Chapter 1, the trademark dialogue, but chief amongst them is the cinema as metaphor reading of the film—there’s so much to unpack here—cinema, more than any other QT film—is a character in the film, the final set piece, a propaganda machine, and our characters here are film stars (Diane Kruger), owners of a theater (Melanie Laurent), and even film scholars (Michael Fassbender)
  • There are mentions of GW Pabst in the text among others—we hit close to Lubitsch’s To Be or Not To Be in narrative and some of the “Basterds” sections borrow from many B-movies and Aldrich’s Dirty Dozen – but I think the main cinematic influence here is clearly Leone—the Chapter 1 section- “Once Upon a Time…” and we start on a picturesque farm. The film has heavy doses of Morricone throughout as well
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this shot is a stunner, he changes the elevation to put the foreground and background in the same plane
  • The cast is fantastic—leading the way is the very deserving Oscar-winning performance from Christoph Waltz—it’s such a natural fit for Tarantino’s writing—the emphasis on the particularities of speech and diction. Beyond the speech and dialogue it’s such a richly detailed character. In the opening there’s the meticulous way he sets up his paper with pen and ink, his politeness and the ordering of milk
  • Ensemble includes an upcoming Michael Fassbender, a small performance in the opening by Lea Seydoux
  • There are times when I adore Tarantino taking his time with each scene—for example, in Chapter 1 I love the rat-comparison story— but we also get 2 minutes on the 3-4 questions about the ages of the hidden Jewish children we’ll never meet in the narrative.
  • Not quite the level of beauty of a similar shot in Kill Bill but there’s a great doorway shot in Chapter 1 (which plays out like an incredible 20 minute short film)
  • Pitt is perfect here- he’s not always as comfortable as the leading man. He has leading man looks of course but he’s almost always better like he is here, or 12 Monkeys or even Jesse James when he gets to play the scene-stealing character actor. His diction is as detailed (yes, more cartoonish, animated and exaggerated) as Waltz’s—he says “D-stroyed”—pushing that chin out
  • The voice-over from Samuel L Jackson is unfortunate—bad form and unnecessary—uneven—he introduces one of the “Basterds” but not the others, he helps us out later with context but not consistently
  • Low-angle Trunk shot twice (a nice formal set up) carving the swastikas including the brilliant “Masterpiece” ending—truly well-done
  • In Chapter 3 Tarantino gives us a date, he doesn’t before or after
  • She’s overshadowed by the dazzling Waltz and louder (and funnier) Pitt—but Melanie Laurent gives a very strong non-verbal performance here
  • The violent vengeance orgy action scene has become trademark—it happens in Kill Bill, Django– allows Tarantino to hit the action checkbox while relishing his long-winded (and wonderful) dialogue and penchant for set pieces for the majority of the running time
  • This is description– not an insult or evaluation, because I love Linklater, but we have long Linklater-like “Before trilogy”- dialogue stretches. Pages and pages of sitting at tables talking- a first for a Tarantino films which have always been very verbal
  • Just like Django I do understand Morricone’s issues with QT’s eclectic music choices- makes for an inconsistent work formally at times as we go from David Bowie back to Morricone for themes— reminded me of Kill Bill’s “About Her” garbage remix by Malcolm McLaren
  • I was in awe of that shot in the circle window of Laurent- it’s phenomenal photography and the ensuing montage (to the Bowie song) as she puts on makeup as war paint
  • Like the restaurant in Kill Bill we get a magnificent large set piece for our action – here the theater is that set piece and Tarantino indulges us with some swift tracking shots up the stairs—quickly hits us with the De Palma (from Hitchcock) 360-shot of Kruger and Waltz talking
  • A Must-See film