From one star reviews upwards, everyone has noticed that Inglorious Basterds, much like its director, is a bit talky. There are moments of action, explosions, and the obligatory Mexican standoff, but here Tarantino runs a Mexican standoff that has to explain how its a Mexican standoff before it is worked out. All of which you might expect from Quentin, he likes his words, and at least his pop culture riffing is restricted here to pre-war pop culture (German film). What is interesting in a director who is seemingly interested in lots of the formal aspects of film-making is the language issue. I don’t have a problem in the German characters speaking German, French/French. The numerous signposted switches between native languages and English are a bit clunky but done with a knowing wink. but for a film which uses three different subtitled languages (sometime in the same scene) the fact that all the subtitles are rendered in the same shade of yellow is a little disappointing. The sequence that relies on a bad German accent is almost dying out for some sort of formalist signposting. Come on, they are German, use a GOTHIC typeface.

Apart from that Tarantino’s war fantasy, with his Churchill, and the full compliment of German high command is pure fantasy. A fun (if talky) fantasy, and one which ends in a way a previous generation could not understand (suicide bombing is now de rigeur). Tarantino is fighting a movie war, and uses the movies in it – the titular squad of Basterds play pretty much third fiddle in their own film. Instead its a Jewish revenge film played out in increasing scenes of stupidity and comedy framed by its own medium. And perhaps its because I am reading it at the moment, but its disconnection from the reality of war, and its never ending cast and side alleys reminded me of Gravity’s Rainbow a lot. For the V2 rocket substitute film and propaganda, for Major Marvy we have Brad Pitt. It does show how a notoriously unfilmable book could be film, and it also gives you a view that it would, on the whole be a bad idea. Like Inglorious Basterds.