Synopsis: A group of men called the Basterds are sent to kill and scalp Nazi officials.
Release Date: August 21, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Drama
Are you in the mood to see a Nazi simultaneously suffocated with a pillow and stabbed in the face? Are you the type of soldier longing to engulf the Third Reich in an enclosed chamber of fire? Well, this movie is perfect for you! There’s only one catch, you have to sit through a lot of people talking before you can claim your revenge. Inglourious Basterds is an entertaining movie for cinephiles accustomed to 153 minutes of mostly subtitled dialogue and finely tuned scenes. In all likelihood however, this film will probably be “pretty boring” to everyone else. This is a great movie for movie-lovers in that never before has a movie theater and its projectionists been portrayed as so dangerous and sexy. In this fictional account in fact, it’s the movies that literally end the war! Ultimately, it would seem as though all five chapters of the film divide audience reaction on purpose. What exactly is this movie? There’s not enough kung-fu explosion to be an action flick, too few laugh-out-loud moments to qualify as comedy, and it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to be a drama. No, just as the Inglourious Basterds leave bloody swastikas carved onto their unfortunate survivors’ foreheads, this is a genre-defying World War II movie made my a director who always leaves his mark.
The occupied France of Inglourious Basterds is a world full of cartoon characters. Here the outrageousness of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels is almost enough to match the atrocity of their crimes. Hostel Director and now actor, Eli Roth, plays “The Bear Jew” well in that he simply looks like someone willing to bash your head in with a bat. And Brad Pitt, with his exaggerated Tennessee accent, 40s mustache, and lines such as “Wiener schnitzel finger” is the funniest part about the movie. But rising in the ranks above these animated caricatures is Col. Hans Landa played magnificently by Christoph Waltz. As the “Jew Hunter”, Waltz refuses to play his character in a loopy manner, as his nickname would suggest. Instead Hans Landa comes off as someone arrogant, annoying, charismatic, and all together terrifying; all this by simply spreading some cream on a pastry. He is also somehow a convincing wizard of languages able to switch from French, English, German, and Italian at will. In one scene Landa finally loses his cool, but rather than explode he quietly silences his victim as all his rage swells into his unbelievably red face. It’s ironic that in this moment, it is the only time Waltz actually looks like a cartoon and yet what we are witnessing is a talent ready to claim his Oscar.
From the very beginning, style is thrown in the audience’s face with the distinctive sound of French music accommodating the title credits. The first scene then has a French dairy farmer chopping wood to some kind of remix of Beethoven’s Fur Elise. From that point forward, it becomes apparent that the musical choice is meant to be just as audacious as the movie itself. The score utilizes some great jazz riffs, twangy rhythms, and Morricone, spaghetti-western tunes as well, but the most enjoyable track is David Bowie’s “Cat People”. This classic pop song brilliantly kicks off the film’s fifth chapter in a style that would make any 80s aficionado proud. The rest of the film could be scoreless actually, that scene alone is worth the repeat viewing. Interested?
This is not a movie for testosterone hungry viewers looking for action. Although the film is quite entertaining, it is not in the manner the trailers make it appear. The trailers are spot on in the promise of bloodshed; there are plenty of Nazi scalps to go around. What the movie lacks however is the trailers’ frenetic pace. The violence is there, but it can only be enjoyed by those gifted with patience.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Quentin Tarantino
- Producer(s): Quentin TarantinoTom Tykwer (uncredited, German dialogue)Brad Pitt (Lt. Aldo Raine)
- Screenwriter(s): Melanie Laurent (Shosanna Dreyfus)Eli Roth (Sgt. Donny Donowitz)Christopher Waltz (Col. Hans Landa)
- Story: Michael Fassbender (Lt. Archie Hicox)
- Cast: Diane Kruger (Bridget von Hammersmark) Sally MenkeRobert RichardsonDavid Wasco
- Editor(s): Anna B. Sheppard
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USAGermany