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My Glourious "Inglourious Basterds" review


#1

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

A movie 10 years in the making, one director Quentin Tarantino himself acknowledged to not being able stop writing and consequently had an influx of extra material enough for two (or possibly three) movies, not mention this excludes the conclusion that forced Tarantino to put the script aside and go onto his other works, such as “Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2” and “Death Proof”. After completion, the director put himself in quite in bind when he promised the new WWII movie would be in next years Cannes Film Festival. Let it be known that production commenced in October 2008, giving Tarantino only a few months to complete his project for France’s most praised film event in May. Immediately there began predictions that the film would not be up to par with his other very successful films because he would rush himself to completion. Bias aside, I can say Quentin Tarantino has made the most powerful, mature and best film to date since “Pulp Fiction”. Which film topples the other is yet to be determined, but another showing or two for comparison will surely answer my question. One would say, this review is by a Tarantino fan and can’t be taken seriously by any others. And they would be correct about me being a fan, hence higher expectations and a more drastic result if not met, so I can assure you, I speak for most people.

The movie consists of two subplots that converge into one epic finale. The first consists of a young Jewish-French girl, Shoshanna Dreyfus, (Melanie Laurent) on the run after witnessing the murder of her entire family by the hands of the of the Nazi detective, Col. Hans Landa AKA The Jew Hunter, played by a one Christoph Waltz, whose performance earned him the Best Actor at the Cannes Film festival; and he will surely get nominated for an Oscar. He brings such charm to the screen with his upbeat wit, yet at the same time, eventually beats the others into submission with his convincing words of intimidation. “Can I please have another glass of your delicious milk”, he says with such manner. The French farmer, who is sheltering Shoshanna and her family at the moment, knows that he is caught and the only way to save face and avoid humiliation is by betrayal. There’s a little basterd in everyone in this movie.

The second subplot introduces the Jewish –American squad known as “The Basterds”, led by a Tennessee twanged Brad Pitt. These are not your typical soldiers. They are meek, scrawny Jews (mainly played by comedians or TV sitcom stars) but with such attitude that you don’t see it coming. The irony of the weak terrorizing the empowered; it’s sort of brilliant. Some of the actors are just cameos and fill ins, but that is acceptable due to the fact that the Basterds that actually matter, matter for a damn good reason. Eli Roth, who we all know as the torture-porn director, plays Boston born Jew Sgt. Donny Donowitz (The Bear Jew) with such obnoxiousness that it’s comical. Come to think of it, the movie itself is a comic book fairytale, none of this really happened because the main characters are made up, but had they existed, this is how Tarantino would want WWII to end: his characters rewriting history, and most will agree.

The other Basterd worth mentioning is Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz whose introduction is about on the same level as Donowitz’s as the best character introduction in a Tarantino movie to date. The nod goes to Roth’s character due to the Ennio Morricone’s wonderful western track “The Surrender (La Resa)” that summons him from the cave where he precedes to brain a Nazi to death with a Baseball bat in such brutal relentless fashion and go on a hilarious Boston-accented rant about baseball, Fenway Park, and Teddy Williams.


#2

The final chapter sees the two storylines coincidentally concluding together in a Nazi-themed theatre where Shosanna and The Basterds each have their way of bringing down Hitler and the Third Reich and ending the war. Shosanna intends to burn it down and the Basterds intend to blow it up. Visually stunning without CGI, this scene will be remembered for a long time. Everyone gets what’s coming to them, especially Hitler and the onslaught is relentless till the final bang.

Casting was done with respect. German actors spoke German, French spoke French, English spoke English. Some actors spoke more than one language and the portrayal of the Italian language was done so in such a subtle hilarity that doesn’t wear it’s welcome. However it is Waltz once again who triumphs above all with a 4 language bank with such a fluent and convincing manner. The performances were done in such fashion that each individual character does not abuse the limitations of their abilities that the director gave them. The only exception is Roth, but his character is a vengeful Jew born in Boston, whose appearance has ‘obnoxious’ written all over, but is done in a short respectable manner that we reach the point of annoyance. I mentioned before that Christoph Waltz definitely deserves a nomination for Best (Supporting) Actor and I stand by that point strong, but the other real strong performance goes to Melanie Laurent, whose character matures from the prey to the cold-hearted predator. She is the French equivalent of Jackie Brown, an independent and strong female role usually seen in a Tarantino film and her lover/accomplice Marcel, played by Jackie Ido, is her Max Cherry. With “Pulp Fiction”, Tarantino was said, by many, to have been responsible for the revivals of such careers as Uma Thurman and John Travolta, and the same can be said for “Inglourious Basterds”. Mike Myers, whose career was currently in trouble with such flops as “The Cat in The Hat” and “The Love Guru”, makes a worthy cameo as the British general who briefs the missions and is surely to be put back on the market. Waltz and Laurent will definitely be paid attention to now. There are strong performances all around that I feel I might exhaust my intent to praise them, so I’ll leave the rest at peace.

The reason why “Inglourious Basterds” ranks up there with “Pulp Fiction” is the maturity and the message Quentin Tarantino is trying to deliver to his fans and his competition. This is not your typical war movie; it’s a war movie about the power of cinema. Studying the German language and culture, I got a year’s worth of German Cinema history, and I recognized everything in this film. The love Tarantino has for the cinema is intimidating and is expressed best in this installment. Some of the knowledge is actually expressed through one of the characters, whose career as a movie critic is advantageous to getting himself out of a bind and avoids blowing his cover; it is only when he orders a drink is when he finally blows it, which goes to show that certain cinema can be appreciated by anybody, but certain cultures belong unbroken. The final scene brings all the Nazi high command together in the cinema in order to celebrate a German war hero by creating his war exploits into a Nazi propaganda film. It’s what the Nazi’s enjoyed during the Third Reich. What other way to celebrate their dictator’s efforts and German war heroes then by entertainment. They didn’t even see their demise coming it’s that smart.

“Inglourious Basterds” is definitely not for everybody, but that’s unfortunate. Most people will expect a whole lot of action, as implied by the trailers. They will get action here and there, but the strengths continue to be Tarantino’s relentless research of past films put into compelling dialogue and references with the uber-violence appearing out of no where as pleasant reward for appreciation. Tarantino is the conductor of this cinematic opera; from suspense to laughter to simple appreciation, he will get from the audience what he intended to. To get this result with such little time is phenomenal; all because he wanted to make it to the festival that gave him Best Picture for Pulp Fiction and made a name for himself. This is a real cinema-lovers movie. As said in the movie “The only people allowed in the room, are the people who will be moved by the exploits on the screen”. This is the most mature movie of his collection with imaginary history, comic-book violence and precise research and knowledge. Those who cannot appreciate the combination of these three are truly unaware or apathetic of the history of cinema, they are not true mature cinema lovers and I suggest they stick with their “GI Joe”s or their “Year One”s. This is the real deal.

5 stars our of 5


#3

please feel free to discuss, i’m trying this out for a considerable hobby


#4

Very solid review, PFC Utivich. I especially enjoyed this part of your observations/critique:

[quote]The performances were done in such fashion that each individual character does not abuse the limitations of their abilities that the director gave them. The only exception is Roth, but his character is a vengeful Jew born in Boston, whose appearance has ‘obnoxious’ written all over, but is done in a short respectable manner that we reach the point of annoyance. I mentioned before that Christoph Waltz definitely deserves a nomination for Best (Supporting) Actor and I stand by that point strong, but the other real strong performance goes to Melanie Laurent, whose character matures from the prey to the cold-hearted predator. She is the French equivalent of Jackie Brown, an independent and strong female role usually seen in a Tarantino film and her lover/accomplice Marcel, played by Jackie Ido, is her Max Cherry.[/quote]

This movie was a long-time coming & it benefits in every way because of it. For Tarantino’s entire filmography, he has shown a unique style of depicting action, characters, & dialogue. We’ve seen the capability of greatness, only to witness it fall short. Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino finally cutting out the fat of his previous works. Where his dialogue has always been superb - in the past, it has occasionally bordered (no pun intended).



There is none of this in Basterds. No, sir. Tarantino acts as a poet where every word, sentence, pause, etc. serves a purpose. Anyone who disagrees with this should take another gander at the Operation Kino chapter & the mindblowing exchange of words in the Louisiana bar. Peter Travers, from Rolling Stone, said it best:



Those in a rush will object to the time allotted to the tavern sequence (a sort of mini-Reservoir Dogs) in which Bridget and the Basterds try to fake out the Nazis in a verbal duel that escalates into a shootout. But Tarantino gives his heart fully to this scene; it’s hair-trigger suspense tied to something as small and telling as an accent.



Okay, so I’ve rambled a bit.



Still, a fine review Utivich. I might just disagree with your comments about the Mike Myers cameo, though. I think most audiences greeted his presence in the movie with humor (similar to Walken’s cameo in Pulp Fiction). Was this Tarantino’s intention? Time will tell I suppose.





-dELVIS-


#5

I won’t be so lengthy. :laugh:



This has got to be Tarantino’s most mature and complete movie. By complete I mean, nothing was lacking. All the performances were SPOT ON. The soundtrack was pure perfection and the elements of language, sub-titles and humor were masterful.



I still need time to fully absorb everything. Maybe see it two more times. I want to bask in the experience again. It was just so well done.



In the beginning I expected the usual Tarantino roller coaster, but was pleasantly surprised by the intelligence and gentle build up the character Landa brought to the screen. Incredible. It set the tone for the entire movie, great intro. After Chapter One, I knew I was in for something ‘different’, from my director.



In keeping it short, I’ll just say, it’s his masterpiece. Plus it’s like 2AM for me and I need more of the movie in order to write an in depth review.



Lets just say this is my intro to my full review. To come at a later date. Plus, I hate spoilers and I don’t want to give anything away so early, so many people haven’t seen it yet.



BTW: Brad Pitt’s lines about fighting in a basement… Priceless.


#6

nice review Baelin, I read it quite quickly since you seem to talk for the “regular” people who still haven’t watched the movie. So, reading the plot summary and all kinda bored me and I wanted to have your honest opinion about it, that’s all.

But it’s a very good review as it is. Just not very “QTA members oriented”, that’s all I’m saying


#7

[quote=“delvis_crasho”]
Where his dialogue has always been superb - in the past, it has occasionally bordered (no pun intended).[/quote]

Edit: I originally wrote, "Where his dialogue has always been superb - in the past, it has occasionally bordered (no pun intended) on tedium.





-dELVIS-


#8

[quote=“delvis_crasho”]


Still, a fine review Utivich. I might just disagree with your comments about the Mike Myers cameo, though. I think most audiences greeted his presence in the movie with humor (similar to Walken’s cameo in Pulp Fiction). Was this Tarantino’s intention? Time will tell I suppose.





-dELVIS-[/quote]

That’s a very good observation. It came off to me as a humourous paradoy of the the normal briefing mechanics of a war movie, and that’s what Mike Myers is best known for and he didn’t abuse his powers either.

[quote=“RatQuiRit”]nice review Baelin, I read it quite quickly since you seem to talk for the “regular” people who still haven’t watched the movie. So, reading the plot summary and all kinda bored me and I wanted to have your honest opinion about it, that’s all.

But it’s a very good review as it is. Just not very “QTA members oriented”, that’s all I’m saying[/quote]



Thanks, I wanted to write something for everyone, this was just one of many places I sent this into.