Vintage Tarantino returns to the big screen and he’s brought all his trademark moves with him. His only standard technique conspicuous by its absence is a time-shifting narrative but he compensates with liberal doses of spectacularly sensationalized violence and joyously amoral humour.
Brad Pitt really thrives in the latter category. He’s an actor who’s always shone in comically caricatured roles and here he gets a lead role that plays to this strength. There’s really not a bad performance in the bunch, with hopefully the start of some crossover success for both Christoph Waltz and Michael Fassbender. None of the characters have much depth to them but are nonetheless entertaining as they ham it up in almost cartoon fashion.
Ultimately though, this is Tarantino’s film. As per normal, he drenches the story in cinematic references, going as far as to make film stock a key narrative device in the big finale. Admittedly, his famously self-absorbed side shines through at times, seemingly too attached to his script to prune the dead air from its two and half hour running time. Because of this, the big moments are sometimes just relief from stretches of tedium.
But Tarantino fans have no doubt already penciled in a viewing. If you aren’t daunted by mammoth running times, you should too.