Thursday, September 30, 2010

May I smoke my pipe?

So I'm sitting in the theater watching Inglourious Basterds for the first time. Along comes the now famous scene of Hans Landa and Pierrer LaPadite sitting at a table. At that point a quote by Hitchcock was brought to mind that is used to describe ways to create tension: "There's two people having breakfast and there's a bomb under the table. If it explodes, that's a surprise. But if it doesn't..."

In this case, Robert Richardson's camera literally goes under the table to uncover not a bomb, but Jews underneath the floor boards. From the moment Landa walked in, he knew. It's a scene that not only builds tension but character. The calculating nature of this villian is on display. Like a cat toying with its prey before going in for the kill.

There's another moment of a similar nature: the scene in the underground bar. Large exchanges of dialogue set us up for an explosion of violence. And again, the "under the table" device is used. Only this time it's handguns pointed at testicles. It's scenes like these where Tarantino is on his A game and in complete service of the story.

1 comment:

  1. I will say the opening is of a high directorial caliber, really grabs the viewer - as it did me. I just couldn't hang on for the ride.

    however, I've found that I am in a minority.