Quentin Tarantino: an inglourious basterd
When Inglourious Basterds opened up on Aug 21, I, like many, could not wait to see it. The movie had good, if not great reviews. Yet, with such hype, there is the danger that expectations are set too high (as the case with any film).
Inglourious Basterds is told over the time frame of 1941 - 1944. From the trailers, several things are already known: Quentin Tarantino directs it, Brad Pitt is in the business of killin' Nazis, and it will likely be bloody (after all, it is Tarantino). So far, so good. Of course, the fi lm has a deeper plot than killing Nazis. It is mostly about getting revenge. Again, no complaints here.
As the film starts out, once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France, a Nazi colonel (Christoph Waltz) is looking for Jewish refugees that may be hidden by another family. One girl, Shosanna (Melanie Laurent), is able to escape. In 1944, she is still living in France and operates a cinema. There, Joseph Goebbels, (Sylvester Groth), minister of propaganda and one of Hitler's right-hand men, is persuaded to show a Nazi propaganda fi lm, The Nation's Pride, at the request of the soldier who stars in the film.While at first apprehensive about the idea, she realizes that this would be a perfect way of getting revenge on the Nazis, and plans on burning down the building while they are all inside.
Meanwhile, Lt. Aldo Raine (Pitt) assembles a special team of eight Jewish Americans whose orders are to go behind enemy lines and kill Nazis. More specifi cally, they are to scalp 100 soldiers, or die trying.
A German double agent (Diane Kruger) informs the Basterds that the four men who can stop the war immediately, (including Hitler) will be attending the screening of The Nation's Pride. Three of the men - the ones who can speak the best I-talian (quoting Brad Pitt's Tennessee accent), attempt to go undercover to infi ltrate the show (complete with dynamite attached to their legs).
Unbeknownst to each other, these two groups (Shosanna and the Basterds) attempt to kill Hitler and the other Nazis at the same time, will they succeed? Will history be rewritten? Or will this just be a failed attempt? Needless to say, it ends with a bang.
One thing that can be said, for sure, is that this was defi nitely a Quentin Tarantino fi lm: Think lots of blood, lots of shooting, and with graphic depictions of both. This is fine. However, about 85 percent of the film was talking¦and if that is not bad enough (again, taking it to be a Tarantino fi lm)¦it was in three different languages (not including English). While this could be seen as artistic and realistic (Germans talking German is a fair assessment), it was something that was unexpected.
Furthermore, as with most Tarantino fi lms, the violence was sporadically and randomly placed. It was as if Tarantino was filming, realized that he was, in fact, Tarantino, and decided that he needed to splice in some violence. Yes, this was a war movie. But a little fluidity would have been nice.
The acting was exceptional, Pitt's accent stupendous, the contemporary soundtrack mixed in, and yet, something just did not click. Maybe, if the film was more like the trailer, it would have been more satisfying? But all the subplots, subtitles, and subject changes made it feel like I was the one getting scalped (and hopefully after this review, readers will not scalp me). The end, however, was awesome, to say the least. Yet, one cannot help but wonder if it was the way it was filmed or, perhaps, if it was the sheer relief that the two-hour, 32- minute and 46-second fi lm had ended.
One tagline for this film reads, You haven't seen war until you've seen it through the eyes of Quentin Tarantino. After seeing this fi lm, some things are better left unseen.