The Mixed Tape

Inglourious Messages by matthewgoodnght

It is undeniable that Quentin Tarantino‘s latest picture was a stellar success after what some skeptics may have claimed, Tarantino’s “dry run”. With astounding performances from some big names in Hollywood, as well as a few “no-names”, excellent direction, witty and humorous writing, Inglourious Basterds satisfied both critics and die-hard movie fans.


However, many fans of Tarantino have finally come to question the motives behind the making of his last film, and his previous films for that matter. What kind of message is Tarantino sending through his films? Some have come to call Tarantino as “wasted talent” in that he revels in glamorizing violence (and surprisingly, not sex). My first reaction is to ignore these heretical ideas given how much I enjoyed Basterds. But you have to admit: a dark comedy-themed drama about a crew of Jewish-American basterds running around the south of France brutally killing any Nazi they find sounds like a shallow plot of a film, doesn’t it? What was Tarantino’s message? Did he truely want us to laugh at the brutal murders of Nazis?

My first answer that comes to mind is the film was more or less about killing Nazis, and more about the cultural context of World War II, how back then African-Americans still were considered to be sub-human by many. Or maybe it was a potrayal of the mind of a Nazi, as seen through Colonel Hans “The Jew Hunter” Landa, who compared Jews to rats, in that we tend to show unwarranted hostility towards both.

Or maybe the answer is that his films don’t have a message and were just created for the sake of an original, interesting story, and that the message is in the reaction of the audience: did they find it funny, moving, or grotesque? Specifically, why exactly did the filmmaker have the urge to show an actual Nazi head be scalped in front of the camera? Two reactions can only come about this: thrill and disgust. With either response from the audience, this grotesque shot serves purpose to emphasize why the Nazis feared the Basterds, stress the hatred towards German soldiers in World War II, and to show what a “scalping” actually is (since scalping has not been very common since cowboys and indians).


Ultimately, the safest answer would be that Tarantino doesn’t insert a message in his films because he just enjoys watching films. Why do all films have to have a message when any message he would put in it is going to be biased, outspoken and stir a division in the audiences that it reaches? Why can’t we enjoy the story of a motion picture without having to worry about political or social messages it retains? Messages in films are NOT bad, I just don’t think they have to be a requirement in filmmaking.

But there certainly is not a right or wrong answer, I am sure thousands of movie-goers took something different after watching Inglourious Basterds because there simply may not be a universal message from, but something different for all of us, and that is art.

Should a film always have a message, or can it be purely for entertainment? Does Tarantino glorify violence just for the sake of glorifying violence? Comment below.

– Matt Perdue

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The Informant! by Nolan Wilson Goff
September 25, 2009, 12:49 am
Filed under: Film, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Based on the true story of corporate whistle blower Mark Whitacre, The Informant! succeeds as one of director Stephen Soderbergh’s best. Check out the trailer below, and full review beyond that.

Most people would recognize Quentin Tarantino as being responsible for the massive growth of independent cinema in the 1990s.  What many don’t know is that Stephen Soderbergh was right alongside him. Soderbergh’s sex, lies, and videotape took home the Audience Award at Sundance in 1989. Recently known for his Ocean’s trilogy, and the subpar The Girlfriend Experience, Soderbergh is finally back on top of his game, this time in a dark comedy starring Matt Damon.

Damon’s performance is without a doubt the best of his career, thanks to the witty dialogue provided by the screenplay.  The film is structured as if it were a constant train of thought straight from the mind of Whitacre, with narration constantly interrupting various facets on the storyline. Truly hilarious. Damon captures this role and never lets it go, as the character becomes a pathological liar. His performance is absolutely worthy of an Oscar nomination.

Soderbergh’s choice to use the RED One camera, fit the story perfectly, and displayed the 1990s with overexposed light and an orange hue. Peter Andrews (aka Soderbergh himself) is one of the premier digital cinematographers of today. Michael Mann, take note.

The only flaw of The Informant! is the pacing in the first act. To be honest, I could have done without the first 30 minutes of the film.  If you make it through, your in for an entertaining ride as Damon and Soderbergh create instant chemistry.

(3 out of 4 stars)


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