Inglourious Basterds As Comedy

by Conor Clarke

There is much debate about what genre Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds deserves. Is it comedy? Philosophy? Revenge fantasy? Silly exploitation? David Denby, for instance, takes that position that it's "lodged in an uneasy nowheresville" between these things. I'd take the position that it's too easy to over-intellectualize a Tarantino film, which is probably just an empty (but extremely well crafted) vessel studded with encyclopedic and occasionally annoying references to films the director likes. Good luck speculating about Tarantino's intentions. But I can report that the audience with which I saw it last night treated it as comedy, which is probably the right mindset with which to enter the theater, at least if you want to have an enjoyable experience.