I was late to Quentin Tarantino's latest contribution to popular culture, last year's Inglourious Basterds, not catching it until it arrived on Blu-Ray not too long ago. (And yes, I have to saying "arrived on Blu-Ray" instead of "arrived on DVD" just so you know I have a Blu-Ray player.). The film had its moments, but it suffered from a schizophrenia of sorts, not knowing what type of film it truly wanted to be. That's part of Tarantino's charm, of course, but here it seemed more like a hindrance than an attempt to assimilate various genre film conventions. So, without further ado, and just in time for the Oscars, I present these 10 questions prompted by the film:
1. How did Tarantino, known for his pop culture laden, self referential dialogue, prepare to write for characters of the 1940s, when conversations were not exactly postmodern?
2. Why did Tarantino utilize two entirely distinct tones for the film? (The film begins with a chilling sequence between SS officer Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) and a French dairy farmer; it also includes a very tense extended scene in a tavern basement. However, the scenes featuring featuring Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and his Bastereds are over the top and violently cartoonish.).
3. What was it like for Rod Taylor to come out of retirement to play Winston Churchill?
4. How on earth was Mike Myers cast as a British general and military strategist? (Follow Up: Was I supposed to be amused by that casting choice?)
5. If German actor Emil Jannings (played by actor Hilmar Eichhorn) finds himself at the film premiere event near the end of the film, why not Leni Riefenstahl, too? Although Riefenstahl and her work are discussed by the characters in the film, the infamous German filmmaker was not present during the film's climax. As a German film celebrity at that time, wouldn't she have most certainly been at the screening at issue?
6. Really, wouldn't there be greater security at a film premiere with so many government officials? Sure, it turns out that Landa, in charge of the event's security, ultimately betrays those assembled for the film's premiere, but wouldn't there be more than a handful of guards, even just for show?
7. Why do Bastereds Omar Ulmer (Omar Doom) and Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth) remain in the burning theatre to empty their machine guns into the crowd and deploy their explosives? Once they gun down Hitler and Goebbels, they could make a hasty retreat from the opera booth, knowing that the remainder of the German officials are trapped inside the first level of the theatre?
8. Does Marcel (Jacky Ido), the projectionist and lover of theatre owner Shoshanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), live or die?
9. Why did Raine allow Landa to live at the end of the film? It seems out of character that the professed hater of Nazis would allow this villain to survive and live out the rest of his life on American soil (even if his superiors ordered him to allow Landa to live)?
10. Considering Tarantino's fondness for revenge stories, will we ever see a sequel of sorts, starring a young adult Maximillian, bent on avenging the death of the father who died at the below street level bar on the very day he was born?
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