"Before my God, I might not this believe without the sensible and true avouch of mine own eyes."

- William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Klavan on "Inglorious"

Today Andrew Klavan reports his response to the movie Inglorious Basterds. It would be a misstatement to say he wasn't impressed. He was impressed, in the sense that repulsion is an impression.

But for Tarantino, no matter how talented, to address the issues inherent in the event as pure fodder for storytelling, to think his squirrelly man-on-man torture fantasies or his video geek understanding of life provide an adequate moral response to that level of history – I don’t know, man – it just felt to me like he was molding toy soldiers out of the ashes of the dead.  Even real Jews torturing real German soldiers would not provide a profound or even interesting resolution, but this stuff?

I can't think offhand of any Tarantino movie I've watched, so I'm speculating when I wonder if the director would even be able to comprehend the words Klavan is using. As I understand it, Tarantino makes meta-movies, movies about movies, movies that mirror not the real world, but the kind of world you'd have come to know if you'd spent your life tied to a seat in a movie theater. I suppose that makes him kin to all the contemporary fantasy writers whose inspiration comes, not from myth or history, but from reading a lot of Tolkien and Rowling. The work may be brilliant in its way. It may be scintillating in its dialogue and groundbreaking in its technique, but it's also hollow and weightless. It's pure refined sugar—food without nutritional content.

I'm not saying there's no place for such work. But it's a different thing; a new thing in the world. It should be kept on a separate shelf from material that rises out of human experience and the wisdom our fathers.


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Comments on "Klavan on "Inglorious"":
1. Ori - 01/26/2010 9:24 pm EST

I didn't see Inglorious (nor do I plan to - I can't stomach holocaust in any but the smallest of doses). But while it took me forever to realize it, "Pulp Fiction" does have a positive message. Almost everybody is a violent, vicious loser who ends up suffering for it - except for the one guy who started quoting the bible because it was cool, and ended up thinking about what he said.

2. Lars Walker - 01/26/2010 9:41 pm EST

That's an interesting take. I have the same problem with Holocaust stories. Too much to bear.

3. Loren Eaton - 01/27/2010 8:14 am EST
4. Lars Walker - 01/27/2010 9:25 am EST

To be honest, the question of whether the actions would have been appropriate doesn't bother me. I wish with all my heart the events of the movie had really taken place.

The problem for me is that they didn't take place, and making a movie of them doesn't mend matters. It's like the Chuck Norris and Sly Stallone movies where American soldiers went back to Vietnam to "set things right." Things can't be set right, and even those fantasy scenarios never happened in the real world. When the theater lights come up again, the dead remain dead and the injustice stands. Fantasizing revenge just leaves a hangover and a sense of impotence.

5. John Book - 01/27/2010 5:50 pm EST

I watched the movie with a male friend. We liked the action and "cut'um-up and shoot-um-up" aspect of the flick. (But this flick was way past that level! It got sickening in spots.)

Acting was ok.... Most played their parts well.

The torture was not necessary in making it a movie at all. The foul language was not needed even IF some guys in WWII did talk dirty.

All in all, I'd say the movie was a waste of time and a waste of good film. It was not edifying nor did it help me grow as a person or Christian.
I would never bring my wife, kids or grand-kids to this flick...so why should I go to anything like this? I should not!

The main actor, what's his name, Pit, is being paid millions and millions of dollars to degrade our country's history and to teach our kids false history on one hand and really bad actions/language/values on another.

The kids believe all they see on the screen. No one cares these days what their kids see on TV or the big screen. Few parents monitor or discuss pros and cons with their kids on what "stuff"enters the kids' minds. The world we see today is the consequence. A world where anything goes, nothing is bad, (unless it would require control or discipline.) I could go on and on...

Oh, ya, I do know how to spell that name....

6. Ori - 01/28/2010 11:31 am EST

There had been a few cases of Jewish revenge for the holocaust, but only a few comparatively speaking. We have long memories, but we are not a particularly vengeful people.

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