It’s wonderful to watch a talented professional mature in their skills and with the release of Inglourious Basterds that’s what’s clearly happened with wunderkind director and film biz bad boy Quentin Tarantino. His earlier works are best typified by Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction, interesting stories that are so extraordinarily violent that the graphic violence appears in lieu of story or character development. Let me put this another way: Inglorious Basterds is the first Tarantino film I’ve actually enjoyed.
Tarantino is an unabashed fan of cinema, from the sublime classics to goofy stuff like Chinese martial arts films and even the hilarious marionette movie Team America: World Police. As a result, most of his movies overtly play homage to a genre, and appreciation of that genre helps you understand many of the narrative devices he employs. For example, without having seen martial arts films, you’d be fairly baffled at some of the scene cuts and camerawork in Kill Bill.