The moral basis in Inglourious Basterds for the Basterds’ delicious slaughter of German troops is that said troops were serving an evil criminal regime and therefore THEY, the troops, were evil and criminal as well as viciously anti-Semitic, so snuff ’em out like rats. Shoot ’em, club ’em, exterminate ’em.
IGB is basically a table-turning game in which Tarantino decided to have fun by letting Germans suffer en masse the way Jews suffered en masse at the hands of the SS and other Nazi command types who carried out the Holocaust.
It is still shocking news to some ostrich-heads out there that Americans were the bad guys in the Vietnam War (i.e., a great industrial nation coming down full-force upon a peasant society and calling out the furies), and that by this token the troops who served this policy were bad guys as well, or even, if you want to really fulminate and get angry about it, just as bad as average German grunts were “bad” for serving their side during WWII.
Grunts are grunts. They don’t formulate policy. They sign up and go through basic training and shoot the enemy and try to survive so they can come back to their families. But by the standards of some, U.S. grunts were okay and just trying to get through the Vietnam War — regular guys, one of us, etc. — but German grunts were evil and deserved to be slaughtered with baseball bats. What myopic idiocy!
IGB is playing a facile, cheap and repugnant game. Two vicious wrongs really don’t make a right, guys. And by relishing the idea of slaughtering average-Joe Germans — by revelling in their elimination like cheering baseball fans in the bleachers — Tarantino degrades the morality of Jewish survivors…indeed, the moral residue of the entire horrific Holocaust experience.
And form-wise, Inglourious Basterds is taken up by at least three if not four long scenes in which a suspicious German goes on at length about how a certain neutral or Allied-friendly Frenchman or French-woman or Brit seems to be not telling the truth and “can you explain why?” and “may I have another glass of your delicious milk?” and lah lah lah lah. The applicable terms are “repetitive” and “boring.”
I know exactly what I’m talking about. I know exactly what Inglorious Basterds is. It is third-rate, scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel Tarantino. And just because the HE hoi polloi are calling it cool and telling their friends to go see it doesn’t invalidate my view. I haven’t been a movie maniac all my life and a regular column writer since 1994 for nothing. I know what goes. I mean, I know.
So all you IGB hooligans can just retire to a pub somewhere and arrogantly chortle about how popular the film is all on your own. Have a good time, enjoy yourselves, etc. Due respect but I don’t agree with you, and if you want to know the truth I don’t truly respect your cinematic value system either. I mean, I do in a sense — no one is “right” and everybody has their opinion — but I think it’s pretty obvious what it’s all about.
And that goes for you too, Glenn Kenny! IGB is smug, low-grade, wafer-thin cinematic shite. It’s popular because it allows the pseudo-hip to fancy themselves as genuinely hip by winking at them over and over and saying, “Get it guys? It’s just a movie. We’re just havin’ fun with the WWII mythology! Yeaaahhh!”
Note: I just tapped out the above diatribe in the HE reader comments section, and figured it would get more play if I posted it as a front-page rant.