Inglourious Basterds Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Cast: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Til Schweiger, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger Running Time: 2 hrs 40 mins Rating: R Release Date: August 21, 2009
Complete coverage of Inglourious Basterds
Scorecard Review by Nick Allen - 9/10 Scorecard Review by Jeff Bayer - 10/10 (His first 10 of the year) Top 7 Characters created by Quentin Tarantino Interviews with Laurent, Roth, and Kruger Interviews with Tarantino, Myers, Waltz, and Novak
Plot: A group of Jewish-American soldiers known as the "Inglourious Basterds" are making their way through Nazi occupied France, killing the Germans. But a German Colonel (Waltz) is out to get them, before they get him.
Who’s It For? You've got to be a fan of killing Nazis. And I'm not just talking about a bullet in the head, there's scalping involved. Plus, the pace of this film is slow, and closing in on three hours. You've been warned ... now go see it opening weekend!
Expectations: Tarantino has many more hits than misses for me. I need to see Jackie Brown again to make sure it wasn't great, and I don't need to sit through the dialogue of Death Proof to know that was boring. Inglourious Basterds was the movie I was most excited about in August.
Actors: Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine: From the moment he steps on screen with that Southern accent, Pitt plays a one-dimensional character ... and it's so much fun to watch. Pitt chews through his lines, has a bad-arse scar across his neck, and makes me think killing Nazis is actually something that would be fun. I can't imagine anyone else leading the basterds into war. Also, he's not the lead actor in my opinion. Score: 10
Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa: Don't know the name Christoph Waltz? You will come award's season. The Austrian actor is the lead, and takes control of every second he is on screen. Sure, it helps he's a Nazi so we know he's capable of awful things, but the commanding intelligence he brings to the role, where you are constantly nervous what he may know, is the true reason to watch. Score: 10
Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus: You knew she'd be back after Hans lets her through his death grip in the amazing opening sequence in the film. And at first, when she returns in 1944 (the film starts in 1941) I was said because it meant less time with the basterds. But Shosanna keeps growing on me as the time slowly passes by, and suddenly I found myself she was in charge of the basterds big Operation Kino mission. Score: 9
Til Schweiger as Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz: I am film orgasmic when Hugo gets his own flashback montage, which completely changes the style of the film, and you start to realize anything is capable. Schweiger is the bad-arse of the basterds and also a Nazi traitor, which is my favorite kind of traitor. Score: 10
Eli Roth as Sgt. Donny Donowitz: But let's call him the "Jew Bear." Simply put, this is my favorite thing the director Roth (Hostel) has ever done. I'm not a fan of his slasher-gore flicks, but his scenes, and his character's love of baseball (in a very violent way) is good stuff. Score: 9
Talking: "We're in the Nazi killing business ... and let me tell you cousin, business is a booming." I actually don't think there is a limit to how many times I could listen to Pitt say that line. Though I also used to think I would never get bored of the song "Runaround" by the Blues Travelers ... Hang on, now I should prove this ... Yup, not sick of "Runaround." Hadn't listened to the song in years, still great. The long, drawn out scenes (especially in the very beginning, and in the downstairs bar) and just amazing. The dialogue becomes a chess match, not in what is said, but how it's said. Absolutely beautiful. It has purpose, unlike the filler conversations in Death Proof. Score: 10
Sights: The camera work is the best so far of 2009. The set designs are so detailed I can't wait to simply look at the film again. I mentioned the violence earlier. It's not constant, kind of like Pulp Fiction, with it's shocking moments. It's very necessary for the film though, because it shows who and what the basterds are capable of ... and we thought the Nazis had issues. Score: 10
Sounds: Tarantino might just be the best borrower in film history. Mainly because he needed that history to find all these wonderful tunes. I couldn't tell you what movies these songs came from, but from spaghetti westerns and others he crafted a brilliant sound. Plus, Score: 10
Best Scene: The basement bar. This is amazing for many reasons. First, Pitt and Waltz aren't even in the scene. Second, it's over 20 minutes long. Third, there's barely any music. One of the characters actually stops the record player. Fourth, you know something is going to go wrong. Fifth, there are stakes, because you desparately want some of these basterds to survive.
Ending: There is a surprising death at the end. I was hopeful it would happen after hearing the phrase "Once upon a time," and I would like to say thank you for Tarantino taking the chance. It totally pays off, plus the final line from Pitt could be coming from Tarantino's lips as well ... "Might just be my masterpiece."
Questions: I heard there was a three hour version, that was cut down a little. So what are those 20 minutes? I need to know. And how cool was it to see B.J. Novak ("The Office") and Samm Levine ("Freaks and Geeks")? I can only hope they get basterds flashbacks of their own on the DVD, which I will repeat in the Rewatchability section because I want it to happen so bad. Was Samuel L. Jackson the only narrator voice used? I thought the first one was someone else. Nice to hear Harvey Keitel as well.
Rewatchability: I can't wait to see this thing again. I'm curious if it will feel a little slow the second time around since some of the tension may be lost. I also am dying to see what extras will be on the DVD. More basterd flashbacks please!
Zombies. Vampires. Nazis. These are the three you are allowed to kill in films without any thought. Sure The Twilight Saga is trying to take vampires away from us, and Valkyrie made a good case for Nazis, but Tarantino puts the stranglehold on history and let's the Nazis have it. God, this is a great film.
Martin Wuttke, Denis Menochet, August Diehl, Michael Fassbender and Daniel Brühl ... did you know these names before this film? In the hands of Tarantino they are all simply amazing and these are the side characters! Mike Meyers' small role is the only thing that seems out of place, man that guy has lost it.
The chapters in this film unfold in a way that makes you comfortable with the long running time, mainly because Tarantino proves slow moving scenes will truly pay off with an amazing opening sequence involving a French family and the Nazi's making a house call. Tension, twists, humor ... and it's constant.
This is the best adult "Once upon a time..." I can think of.
Final Score: 10/10