Formidable character, formidable actor: Christoph Waltz as the disturbingly alluring Nazi in Quentin Tarantino's masterful "Inglourious Basterds"Perhaps the movie critics who are losing their jobs right and left these days are no great loss. Harsh? Perhaps. But has there ever been a time when reviewers seemed so hopelessly hamhanded?
A case in point: The seemingly willful clueless response to Quentin Tarantino's vigorously accomplished "Inglourious Basterds." For some bizarre reason, Tarantino's film has been put under a miscroscope (as no other recent film has) by a handful of critics, so busy nitpicking about trivia that they've literally missed the larger picture. A good picture.
The carping has reached such a ridiculous pitch the usually even-keeled Dave Kehr felt compelled to challenge one of the Tarantino-bashers on his popular movie site: "I don’t think Tarantino puts any of his critical faculties aside when he’s assembling one of his elegantly convoluted narratives. He’s a master orchestrator of audience expectations — of knowing when to fulfill them and when to frustrate them."
Elegant is certainly the operative word for "Basterds" which opens with a stunning sequence in which the director takes his time and lets his actors involve us in a long, contentious conversation and the feeling of dread that it naturally reflects. His sumptuous use of music, Robert Richardson's handsome cinematography and an ensemble cast which produces no missteps hardly prepare us for Tarantino's one inarugable triumph here - the crucial casting of a commanding actor named Christoph Waltz whose Nazi character mesmerizes as much as he taunts and frightens.
This is a real movie. Those few critics don't know what they're missing.