Inglourious Basterds Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Cast: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent Running Time: 2 hrs 35 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 Bayer's KPTV Reel Review of Inglourious Basterds
Plot: A group of Jewish-American soldiers (led by Pitt) are dropped into Nazi-occupied France with orders to intimidate the Germans with their brutal methods. At the same time, a woman (Laurent) who lost her family to an SS raid plots her own revenge against the Nazis.
Who’s It For? The mainstream audience that have hooked onto Tarantino's movies before should know what to expect - moments of excessive violence, lots of dialogue, a boat ton of movie references, and even hints of a foot fetish. Basically, this movie is made especially for Quentin Tarantino.
Expectations: This was bound to be bloody, long, but hopefully aligned with standard elements from the writer/director. That being said, would it try to look vintage like 2007's Death Proof attempted? Or, could Tarantino's own take on World War II possibly cut back on his knack to ramble?
Actors: Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine: Much of the film's dark comic relief comes from Pitt's very entertaining performance. He talks like a mix of Sling Blade and Dubya, and is amusing in every scene he's given. A wicked unexplained throat scar just elaborates on this character's awesomeness, with the rest owing much thanks of Pitt's enthusiastic portrayal of the South Carolina lieutenant. Score: 8
Christoph Waltz as Colonel Hans Landa: Evil grins are easy to pull off, but Waltz has one of the best I've ever seen. When it comes to wickedness, he can stand next to the Tarantino classics like Mr. Blonde. Col. Landa is so well composed with his brilliance, he's part deliciously evil and part a "basterd" in his own right. His methods are clear, but his way of carrying them out is done with such patience that every move of his is wonderfully mysterious. Even the "simple" chats that Landa has while snacking make for an incredibly magnetic performance and subsequently a wonderful contribution to the QT character legacy. Waltz won an award from Cannes for this performance, and it's extremely easy to see why. Score: 9
Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna Dreyfus: Another strong female character from Tarantino who is by no coincidence a blonde femme fatale in disguise. A ticking time bomb, she's as patient with her tactics as Col. Landa, but Laurent's performance is slightly a bit pale in comparison. Nevertheless, considering she is competing with all of the Basterds for our hero worship, Laurent does a fine job in carrying her movie-reference-loaded subplot. Score: 8
Talking: In the same way that one should not expect any actual "war" from Tarantino's take on a war film, do not expect Brad Pitt and his "basterds" to scalp Nazis for two hours. Anyone who has ever seen one of the director's movies should be aware that while he enjoys his violence, he seems to revel in the tension created through his dialogue even more. However, unlike his recent Death Proof, that all works here, as the banter is actually interesting, nevertheless played with an underlying tension that may or may not explode to a big massacre. Great performances delivering these civil "chats" doesn't hurt either. And for the record, about half the movie is in subtitles, varying from French, German, and Italian. Score: 8
Sights: Looking up to his cinephile idols, Tarantino has always been a fan of careful composition when it comes to cinematography, and this film may have his best work in that field so far. The third act especially has some beautiful shots that will please moviegoers of all backgrounds and levels of love for film. Score: 9
Sounds: Adding to Tarantino's desire to make Inglourious Basterds a type of western, much of the music is by Ennio Morricone, whose scores are notorious in that particular genre. When not borrowing from foreign films, the soundtrack rarely plays to convention but instead to the Tarantino touch, as more random rock songs are implemented as if to remind us further that is not going to be any regular World War II movie. Score: 8
Best Scene: The ending. Wow.
Ending: Any moment while watching this film spent yawning or maybe even checking your watch will be reimbursed in full by a whopping conclusion that will likely be forever etched into our heads.
Questions: Comparing to the preview, is there a "basterd" scene still laying on the cutting room floor?
Rewatchability: Now knowing exactly what the film is about, I am eager to see how well my feelings towards it hold up in round two.
Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to turn World War II into a type of bloody, talk-heavy, cowboys and indians type of western. While he had the potential to sink into war film normalcy like Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna, Tarantino has his fingers in every corner and aspect of his story, making a movie that is all his own. There are no over-glamorous battle sequences, there's nothing political about it, and in a complete reversal, the Nazis are now the victims of terrorization. It's absolutely wonderful.
This is Tarantino's imagination running wild, warping the history books and their main figures in a way that would make him especially dance in his seat. At the same time, he is remarking how film is the most powerful of art forms, and that our world is connected by our love for giant faces and movie stars. That being said, it could be argued this is his most Tarantino movie yet.
As much as the incredible performances from a new batch of Tarantino's best characters can hold our attention, the film could've used one or two more scenes of "basterd"-ness to fully satisfy those who came to see Brad Pitt "killin' Nazis." Nevertheless, this is the movie-junkie director's version of war. And the film world is a slightly better place because of it.
Final Score: 9/10