, Quentin Tarantino’s shockingly violent WWII fantasy, is a late summer jolt of electricity. While the director’s blatant disregard for good taste has never been more apparent, it actually for once works to his advantage. A film that features lines like, “Say goodbye to your Nazi balls” doesn’t beg to be taken seriously after all. It aims low and hits its target with precision.
Tarantino, “QT” to his friends, is a filmmaker forever to be filed under “problematic.” Like the disturbed kid who enjoys pulling the wings off butterflies (but can’t explain why), he has a cruel streak that finds vent in bravura scenes of torture and violence. He appears to be most comfortable working with primitive emotions like fear and rage, and his knack for riling audiences would be legendary if only he had an audience to speak of. (Despite the Oscar nominations, he’s still the property of a cult.) His favorite theme is revenge, or, if you want to split hairs, retribution. The conscientiously profane dialogue that litters his screenplays is often praised for its creativity, though it has always sounded very sophomoric to these ears, very junior high (scatology spiked with the “f” word). His inability or unwillingness to deal with three-dimensional people in favor of caricatures or stereotypes suggests a lack of interest in the world beyond the movie theater. (Jackie Brown
is the sole exception, thanks to the humanizing performances of Pam Grier and Robert Forster.) In short, he’s immature, unprincipled, and not to be trusted. A real basterd.