Well, now that I've had a few days to think about it... For some reason or reasons I hesitate to give this four stars, but I know Quentin tries hard. Pulp Fiction is still his four star masterpiece in my book, though. And of course, most of the themes in Quentin's work and life are present here. The dialogue about movies, the pacing, the coked-up enthusiasm, the racism... I know, I know, he's an artist, and producer Lawrence Bender's got liberal street cred now that he went on Bill Maher. And so, by bending the World War II genre ever so gently and slightly, QT's found a way to blend America's two most favorite decades of all time: the 1940s (mostly through the great art direction) and the 1970s (mostly through the music).
I won't heap on Mike Myers too much, but he doesn't add a whole lot in his one scene. Melanie Laurent makes a fine replacement for Scarlett Johansson, and that Daniel Bruhl... who's he look like? Some have posited Glenn Ford, but I don't think that was it. And the critics were right, and I agree, that Waltz deservedly won his Oscar. Great performance. Now he belongs to the world... and look! It's already paying off. That was Rod Taylor as Winston Churchill? Ugh. He's deteriorating in front of our eyes.
This is what I get for waiting to review. There are plenty of other examples in this movie that recall other QT movies and aspects of his own personal life. For example, Brad Pitt's character was bourne in Tennessee... just like Quentin! And Shoshanna at one point tells someone that in France, they respect directors... like Quentin! I'm leaving out a few, I know... well, there's the part where the one dude finds out his nickname is "The Little Man"... anyone else think of Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs? Just me? I thought so. That's from Pelham 123 you know... anyway, the music. Other than the riff on Fur Elise, it seems to be slight 70s rock. And the opening scene, well... let's face it, that probably happened a lot more than people would like to believe. I'm trying to avoid spoilers here.
Ah hah! I remember now. The scene in the café was a damn fine scene, but it ended much like that one standoff in Kill Bill vol. 2 where the spectre of parenthood is used as a bargaining chip to end the standoff... am I grasping at straws here? I could go on and on, but let me wrap up with the violence. I'm assuming it's a little more restrained than in Eli Roth's films, anyway, but there's no doubt about it: the digital revolution's made screen violence all the more cringeworthy. Especially the scene where Brad sticks his finger in the girl's leg. The older I get, the more I cringe at stuff like that. But I will criticize that one part where we see a forehead getting carved up with a knife. The layer of skin over a forehead isn't terribly thick. If I had to guess, it's maybe a half an inch thick. But the forehead that gets carved up, it looks like they're cutting a thick juicy steak! It must've been about two, three inches thick! And no white bone underneath to be seen at all! I felt robbed... but not too robbed, and still grossed out. This is all Hannibal's fault, I tells ya... I gotta go. Oh, but nice cinematography by Robert Richardson. He must be glad to finally be rid of Oliver Stone, huh? ;)
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan