Sunday, November 08, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Year: 2009
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Michael Fassbender, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger

When you think about Quentin Tarantino movies, you start thinking about a whole new definition of cool. A new form of brilliant filmmaking. A style so unorthodox that even if you can't appreciate it as a whole, you'd still find entertaining in parts.

Tarantino is well known for making movies that don't conform to other films of a specific genre. He'll mix, match and borrow any element he feels adequate or suitable to make it work, and even if it seems like blatant copying to some, to most people it comes off as a wonderful homage to other classics.

His new film, Inglourious Basterds, is a World War II film that really isn't so much of a war film, but more of a spaghetti western meets The Dirty Dozen type of movie. You won't see those big battle sequences and bombs being dropped from soaring airplanes while everything around the cast blows up like Pearl Harbor here. It's quite a character driven film, to be honest.

Basterds begins with Col Hans Landa, a Nazi officer nicknamed The Jew Hunter, paying a visit to a family in France suspected of hiding Jewish refugees. He finds the Jews and kills them, but one of them, a young girl named Shosanna Dreyfus, manages to escape.

Cut to a few years later, where a team of Jewish American soldiers led by Lt Aldo Raine, drop themselves into France to do, as Raine proudly states, "one thing and one thing only: killing Nazis." Raine and company make such a notorious reputation among the Nazis that it incurs the wrath of Hitler himself. Meanwhile, Shosanna, who now runs a small cinema in Paris, finds herself in a unique position to exact revenge on the Nazis when a German officer named Fredrick Zoller, is smitten with her, and proposes to his commanding officer to premiere a pro-German film (starring Zoller no less) at her cinema.

Raine's team also have a plan of their own to take out the Nazis, with the help of German double agent Bridget von Hammersmark and English officer Lt. Hicox. But the brilliant tactics of Col Landa might ruin everyone's plans...

First of all, before you pass judgment on this film, whether you've seen it already or not, let me say this: this is Tarantino we're talking about. That being said, you can't just take this too seriously. For example, the real World War II was nothing like this. This film is WWII the way Tarantino imagined it to be. It's not supposed to be historically accurate, it's only meant to be fun and entertaining. And by God, it is.

You'll be pleasantly treated to his very unique style, like starting the film like a western, complete with soundtrack and credit fonts that match. Throughout the film, you'll hear western film type music that surprisingly enough, doesn't feel out of place at all. You'll probably chuckle at the idea, but you won't find it repulsive or silly one bit. Then there's the division of the film into chapters with titles, which is just perfect to keep the audience interested. That's the magic Tarantino brings to his films.

And then there's the lengthy dialogue exchanges, that seem to go on for up to 30 minutes per scene. For those of you who expect this to be a full blown action film or a Brad Pitt vehicle, let me warn you that it isn't either of those. It's full of scenes where conversation is the main course, and thankfully unlike Death Proof (where the dialogue was completely irrelevant to the main plot of a stuntman running girls over with his car for kicks), the dialogue here is spot on, wonderfully written and brilliantly executed.

Brad Pitt doesn't get the most airtime here, despite having first billing. But you will enjoy watching him as Aldo Raine, complete with his over the top Southern accent. He's just so much fun to watch here. Christoph Waltz steals the show as Col Hans Landa, a villain that exudes charm, cunning and an underlying sense of dread. If you sat in a room with him, you'll be taken in by his character, yet you know he's just waiting for the right moment to swallow you whole. Melanie Laurent is impressive as Shosanna, the woman with a vengeance, while Diane Kruger and Eli Roth lend credible support as Hammersmark and Sgt Donowitz, Raine's right hand man, respectively.

That's the Tarantino film, a movie that feels like it was made by a complete film geek, but it never fails to entertain. He certainly has redeemed himself from Death Proof. Go see this. (4/5)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

why do you rate all your movies with at least a 3/5? aren't there at least some that deserve a 2/5?


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