Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Inglourious Basterds

I went to see the new Tarantino film last night. I can't understand why it has provoked such polarised reactions. I thought it was a fairly good film. It reminded me very much of the films of Brian De Palma, particularly Carrie, The Untouchables and Scarface. It's a clever film, it's cinematically powerful, it uses the form of film with great facility. But I don't think it has much depth. I suppose it's only because you can see that the guy has so much ability that the shallowness even signifies.

Tarantino has said that he ignores the moral dimension in the scenes he provides. That is clearly untrue. Tarantino uses the audience's moral feelings as one of the colours of his composition of scenes. He uses the audience's feelings not only of empathy, but of right and wrong, to produce emotional tension, ambivalence and catharsis. Every single scene in this film twists your moral compass to produce emotion. Which is fine I think.

This film has an obvious game which it plays with moral feelings. That is, one sees the Nazis perform an act, and one assesses it as an evil act. The one sees the anti-Nazis perform a similar act, and I felt the message of the film was something like 'Ah-ha! Look how your feelings have changed when it is the goodies doing it!' Similarly, one is suppose to have revelled in scenes of slaughter of Nazis, and then one sees the Nazis themselves in the cinema, chortling at scenes of slaughter. Oh No! Moral dissonance! But have you been chortling up to that point?

If you think that Good and Evil are sides in a war, rather than adjectives, then this film may be more emotionally shocking. Having said that, viewers whose feelings are so confident, may be able to chortle with enjoyment through the scenes where Good triumphs. I don't think Tarantino advocates either point of view, just constructs his scenes to use the feelings which arise.
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