Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Title: Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Director: Quentin Tarantino


Every Tarantino movie is a special treat for me. His films dont come out every year, he takes his damn good time to start working on a new project, but more often then not, that 'in between film time' is well worth the wait. Tarantino films are films for people who really enjoy a good movie. He really takes that extra time and effort to set up a sequence, to write the pitch perfect dialog, to escalate the suspense in a sequence to brilliant heights. Inglorious Basterds was a project which he had been wanting to do for some time now, and its finally come to fruition. Its based on an Italian film made in 1978 dealing with similar subject matter (Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato a.k.a. Deadly Mission) but ultimately, Tarantino's film is a whole other thing. So whats the veredict for his latest nazi hating opus?

Story concerns a group of dudes known as "The Basterds" who go around doing nothing more then killing Nazi soldiers. This is one part of the story, where we follow these guys capturing, questioning, torturing and finally killing nazis all around France. But theres another story in which we follow a woman whos whole family was killed by Nazi scumbags. She escapes, tries to live a normal life...until the moment for her pitch perfect revenge practically falls on her lap. Both stories collide in the third act of the film to offer us one glorious revenge filled moment of triumph!

So basically, it appears as if Tarantino had to blow off his hatred for Nazi's. It happens to directors every now and again, hell, it happens to anybody every time they read the history books. Cant say I blame 'em. Hitler and his pack of dogs were some of the slimiest group of people to ever walk the face of the planet. Who the hell were they to say they were the best, and the only ones deserving to walk on this planet? I say, to hell with those Nazi bastards, and lets all make sure nothing like that ever happens again in history! Ever! Steven Spielberg released his hatred for the Nazi party when he made Schindlers List back in 1993, hell, the Nazi's were the villains in two of the four Indiana Jones films. Many more films have shown their hatred towards the Nazi's: The Pianist, Life is Beautiful, Sophies Choice, to name but a few. So now its Tarantino's turn to spew some intense hatred towards them.

Most films dealing with history try to be as historically accurate as possible. They gotta stick to the way things happened. Heres were Tarantinos Inglorious Basterds takes a bit of a turn from your usual Nazi film. Basically what Tarantino did was he developed this story around people who are suffering over the Nazi's occupation of France. But he takes the story his own way and shows us how he would have wanted to get Hitler and his closest buddies all in the same room at the same time to wipe them off the face of the earth. Im not going to go into details as to how he does this, but its one of the coolest revenge stories Ive seen. The last moments of this film are truly awesome, makes you wish it had really happened that way. But it didnt, so dont expect this movie to stick to history and the way things happened cause thats not what your going to see. This is a "what if" sort of story.

This movie is 100% a Tarantino film. How do we know this? Well, for starters, its a revenge story. We all know how much Tarantino loves those! One of its main characters is a woman, which goes right in line with most of Tarantino's films, which most of the time end up giving women the power to overcome their troubles on their own. See both Kill Bill films, Jackie Brown and Deathproof for examples of this. The film is divided into chapters, which is a very common Tarantino landmark. We have a scene where everybody in the room just whips out their gun and shoots the hell out of each other, which is something we've seen in many a Tarantino film, even as far back as his True Romance days. So be ready for a film thats purely and undoubtedly a Quentin Tarantino film.

Another thing that distinguishes a Tarantino film from all others is the excellent choice in actors. Many might view Brad Pitt as nothing more then a pretty face, but I beg to differ. Ive always thought he was one of the finest actors from his generation. Sure, he's just as guilty as the next hollywood actor for making crap (Mr. and Mrs. Smith for example) but you need only to look through his resume to see some excellent performances. My favorite of the bunch is Early Grayce in Dominic Sena's Kalifornia. Where Pitt plays this hill billy white thrash whacko with some serious psychological issues. Highly recommend you check that movie out if you doubt Pitts acting skills. Other films Id recommend as examples of Pitts excellent acting skills are 12 Monkeys, Seven, and now I'll add Inglorious Basterds to his list of excellent performances. Here he plays Lieutenant Aldo Raine, a guy who wants nothing more then to kill Nazi Basterds and collect their scalps! He plays that country boy accent from Tenesse very well! His character is the one responsible for some of the more comedic moments in the film.

What actor doesnt want to jump at the opportunity to be in a Tarantino movie? We get an excellent cast here of great actors that you've probably never seen or heard of before, but probably will see and hear a lot of from now on because they were in this film. Example: Christoph Waltz the actor who plays the most hateful of the Nazis in this film (Col. Hans Landa) is already lined up to star in next summers comic book flick The Green Hornet. But I have to say, he deserves his upcoming success, on this film he plays a truly hateful Nazi commander! The kind of Nazi that will question you and question you and question you until he finally discovers you are hiding something, or being unfaithful to the Fuhrer and then he will make you pay for it! Great character! Very versatile, Waltz character demanded that he speak four languages! French, Italian, English and German! A memorable villain played by a very experienced actor, he has not made many American films, but you should see all the movies this actor has made all over the world! Same thing with the beautiful Melanie Laurent, who has an impressive resume of French films, but had never made an American one. She plays the rebel who got away, the vengeful woman in Tarantinos Nazi universe. We also get a great supporting cast, among them Eli Roth (director of Hostel I and II and Cabin Fever testing his acting chops) playing the "Bear Jew", a member of the Basterds who is famous for smashing Nazi skulls with a baseball bat! We get Mike Myers playing a cameo as an American col. Though I have to admit, I found Mike Myers role to be very unnecesary. His performances is a simple cameo, nothing truly relevant. Or maybe I just couldnt get past the fact that its Dr. Evil trying to play a "dramatic role".

But aside from the excellent actors and production values, this film portrays once again Tarantinos ability to whip up some great dialog and suspense. The dialog on this film is plentiful (something Tarantino is very well known for as well) but its not your usal "Tarantino Bullshit". Often times in Tarantino movies characters will start talking about the most mundane things, and go on and on about them for minutes on end. On example of this is in Reservoir Dogs when the characters start talking about the true meaning behind Maddonas "Like a Virgin" or in Pulp Fiction when Vincent talks about what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France. In Inglorious Basterds characters do have extended conversations, but to my surprise, they were all pertinent to the story. The lengthy dialog simply served the purpose of enhancing the supense or the drama in the scenes which I thought was a step up for Tarantino. Everything the characters said needed to be said and only enhanced the story as if the dialog though plentiful was distilled of any unnecesary words. Speaking of suspense, there are many scenes which start out ever so slowly, and before you know it they build up to a great climax. These Nazi bastards can really get to you even in film, when you know they arent real. Tarantino really constructed some fearful Nazi soldiers, characters that act and think like cold robots without any feelings or sympathy.

Do not expect a film that sticks to historically acquarate facts. This film takes place on its own Tarantino Nazi Universe, things dont happen the way they did. But youll wish they happened the way Tarantino portrays them on this picture. The film is very violent and graphic at times, be ready for just the right amount of gore and graphic mayhem. But you can also expect lots of comedy, some of the situations end up being quite funny, like the moment in which Pitt is trying to pass himself as an Italian film crew so he could get close to Hitler, and one of the Nazi officers starts questioning his Italian accent and he tries his best to speak Italian, though its obvious his Italian doesnt go any further then saying "arrivederci!" Hilarious.

All in all, a great Tarantino film. Well worth all the wait. Highly recommend you check it out at the theater. Its the kind of movie thats made for people who truly appreciate a good film. Great script, great performances, fun times. Tarantino's still got it.

Rating: 5 out of 5


Direct to Video Connoisseur said...

Hey, I first wanted to thank you for checking out my site and commenting and becoming a follower. I reviewed this movie myself in my own blog, in the same post where I reviewed the original. There were a few minor points where I disagree with you on it-- like I loved Mike Myers' cameo as the British Army officer, and it was definitely necessary to tell us why the British Film Critic Colonel was there-- and I think on your scale I would give it 4 out of five stars, but overall we're on the same page. I actually liked the dialog in Pulp Fiction better too, especially the Quarter Pounder thing, but I can see where maybe hearing people say Royale with Cheese all the time has gotten to you.

Franco Macabro said...

Your site is pretty cool, you talk about a lot of old straight to video movies..and I watched a lot of those during the 80s!

You ever reviewed a movie called Terrorvision? I love that freaking film and it was only released on video during the 80s! Great entertaining sci-fi comedy, highly recommend checking it out!

Hey Pulp Fictions dialog is awesome, dont get the wrong idea, I love that whole sequence with Vincent and Jules talking bullshit before the big hit. They go into everything from foot massages, to t.v. pilots, to amsterdamn to what they put on french fries in France.

I guess a better example of "Tarantino Bullshit" dialog and I dont mean that in a bad way by the way, Im just referencing the fact that characters talk about the most mundane things that arent necesarilly pertinent to the film itself, is Death Proof.

Though I love Death Proof (specially its action packed third half) you gotta admit those girls can talk up a storm! But hey, Tarantino dialog is entertaining any day of the week.

What I loved about Inglorious Basterds was that even though it was dialog heavy, the dialog was crystal clear and precise.

Matt Poirier said...

Oh man, I forgot about TerrorVision. Once I can get a copy of it, I'll review it. I'd love to see it again.

I agree about the dialog in Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds. I have to confess, I still need to see Death Proof. I know, I suck as a human being. What made Pulp Fiction so amazing to me, was how the dialog seemed to be superfluous, but it did so much to further the character development and make the story just that much more nuanced. The dialog in Inglourious Basterds felt like it had this Hitchcockian element of something sinister about to happen, but with Tarentino involved, it made it that much crazier, because we know Tarentino has almost no limits to what he'll do. It's like you can see Tarentino watching North by Northwest, and thinking "That's how I'd end that scene between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint".

I'm glad you dig the DTVC, and don't hesitate to make requests for movies to be reviewed. If I can find it, I'll do it.

Franco Macabro said...

I agree man, sometimes while watching a Tarantino film you can defenetly pick out certain scenes that were obviously inspired by others. As Im sure you know, thats what he's known for. Have you seen Lady Snowblood? Oh man, whenever you do, youll see where a huge chunk of Kill Bill came from! I saw it a few years back and was blown away at how much that film influenced QT. Also, if you get a chance, check out a film called "They Call Her One Eye" a.k.a. "Thriller: A Cruel Picture" a lot of The Bride came from there as well. Thriller is kind of a tough watch cause its a revenge flick, but its also at times soft porn (scratch that its pretty hardcore at times!) but you defenetly get to see where a lot of Tarantinos style comes from.

Highly recommend checking out Deathproof, its not QTs best, but even his less stellar films are enjoyable. The hate comes from its first half, where the four protagonist go on and on about stuff...but the film quickly picks up when Kurt Russell, the films villain walks in.

Theres certain chase sequences and even localizations that were taken right out of Vanishing Point, as was the car used in the third Act of the film.

A QT fan such as yourself should have a grand old time with that movie!

Reina said...

i really want to see this movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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