Fighting the Good Fight

And then there was light...

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Inglourious Basterds - a bit late to the discussion
This is a bit dated now, but a review I wrote for Inglourious Basterds, the most recent Tarantino flick:

I've liked a lot of Tarantino movies, and thought just about all of them were quite cleverly done, but I must say, until I saw this movie, I never thought of him as an out-and-out genius. This is by far one of the best movies I've ever seen, and totally changed my view of what Tarantino is capable of as a filmmaker. I was blown away by the way this story was woven together - by the sheer brilliance of the structure, the subtlety of the performances and the depth of the emotional content. It is fantasy, but not purposeless fantasy.

I also think it demonstrates (along with Defiance, which actually is historically accurate, or as much as a Hollywood movie can be), that we as a society, and especially the Jewish community, have come to a new phase of our emotional recovery from the Holocaust. For those who disparagingly label this a "Jewish revenge fantasy" you're absolutely right. Why that is a bad thing, or why it offends some people is completely beyond me. Films like this and feelings like this are a part of the normal grieving process only happening on a societal, rather than an individual scale. They also show that we are not, nor are we likely to be anytime soon...past the effect the Holocaust had on all of us as people. Movies often reflect and amplify where a society is in this process...just like they did with the Vietnam war (where we went from Taxi Drive, to Rambo, to Platoon)...the timescale is just a lot longer with the Holocaust because the level of inhumanity and horror and grief and guilt is so extreme. There have been plenty of movies with Jews as victims...frankly, I'm tired of seeing those, and I no longer learn anything new from that view of he Holocaust. I found this reimagining of events much more insightful in that it gave me a new way to look at the events of WWII, a subject which has always fascinated, repelled and haunted me.

Anyway, I'm of German/Polish Catholic heritage, and I can tell you, it was damned cathartic for me to see Jews blowing away those Nazi bastards. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe. It also means that a part of me still feels the deep injustices of that war, and wants some way to make it okay. In reality, I can't...but Tarantino's film toys with and teases out and examines all of those emotions in a way that struck me a truly genius, and I walked away grateful.

I guess that it bothered some people might mean that it worked?


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