Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, "Inglorious Basterds" is a fictitious, visceral story of WW II in which a small group of American Jewish commandos led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine played by Brad Pitt turn the tables on Hitler and his Nazis. The movie is set in Paris during the German occupation. Besides Pitt, the major character is the Nazi "Jew Hunter" Hans Landa played by Austrian actor Christoph Waltz. Landa is suave, intelligent, shrewd, and deadly. Waltz does an extraordinary job of acting in portraying this difficult character.
The movie movies swiftly and held my attention throughout its 150 minutes. The movie is violent and crude with many scenes of beatings, cuttings, and killings. It captures the brutality of the war. In the movie, while not in fact, the Nazis get a deserved and swift comeuppance. It is a movie of vengeance.
I was engaged with this movie but found it valuable to step back and remember that it is a work of fiction. Some intelligent criticism has suggested that in this film that roles of the Nazis and the Jews has, if not been reversed, at least been somewhat equated. As in some other WW II movies, German top leadership is portrayed as consisting of buffoons. Tragically, WW II did not happen like this.
The movie was absorbing, dark, and wrenching but not especially probing. I did not find it nearly as effective or entertaining as Tarantino's more recent movie, "Django Unchained". Christoph Waltz is oustandining in both films.
Do you know what, the film is so 'way-out' ....it's actually pretty good.
Maybe the best thing 'Quentin Tarantino' has done so far ?
The film itself contains glimpses of a warped reality from 'World War '2' along with a measure of 'graphic' violence, and of course much 'tongue -in -cheek' humour.
The story ? ....a novel and of course fictional early end to the war, prior to which 'a hit-squad' are placed in occupied 'France' around the time of the 'Normandy' landings, task.....to kill as many 'German's' as they possibly can.
As i say the film is pretty entertaining to watch, and is no question 'worth a spin'
on 2 April 2016
Violent, unrestrained and thoroughly entertaining, this is a classic Tarantino thrill-ride not to be missed.A big, bold, audacious war movie that will annoy some, startle others and demonstrate once again that he's (Tarantino) the real thing..
A violent fairy tale in which the history of World War II is wildly re-imagined so that the cinema can play the decisive role in destroying the Third Reich. Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is fantastic. Waltz's effortlessly disarming performance is perhaps the best portrayal of a Nazi since Raph Fiennes in Schindler's List, fully-fleshed and endlessly engaging. It's just possible that Tarantino, having played a trick on history, is also fooling his fans. They think they're in for a Hollywood-style war movie starring Brad Pitt. What they're really getting is the cagiest, craziest, grandest European film of the year. Dialogue is sharp, the imagery mesmerizing and both come together to create a wildly entertaining film. Definitely worth a watch
on 20 June 2012
This is the kind of movie only Quentin Tarantino seems able to get away with. A typically irreverent, cunning and scatological piece of flotsam that does everything against the accepted movie-making conventions but mostly works nonetheless.
Watching it, I kept thinking about all those `how to write a screenplay' courses and instruction books and reflecting on how the writing for `Inglorious Basterds' would probably fail all the standard academic criteria for success. Here is a 153 minute long movie that largely consists of lengthy conversations between two or more characters, usually sitting statically at tables and ranging around all sorts of commonplace chit-chat before getting to the point. The point, when eventually reached, then usually climaxes in a short, brutal moment of extreme violence. The film also pays scant attention to its titular characters, who are mostly just there to supply the key moments of violence. Tarantino prefers to turn conventions around and promote nominal supporting roles into the predominant leads. Finally, there's the intriguing awareness that this screenplay could probably be adapted as a theatre play with minimal change and a pretty modest budget. In fact, if somebody told you the whole thing was a filmed stage play you'd probably believe it.
Tarantino's usual indulgences are as much to the fore as ever - pastiche, self-awareness, smugness, overlength and endless movie references. The whole thing starts with a lengthy tribute to the opening of Once Upon a Time in the West and another long scene, involving the French heroine played by Melanie Laurent, looks like something lifted straight from a late-50s New Wave classic by Goddard or Truffaut. The trouble, as is always the case in Tarantino films, is that its hard to get sucked into the plot or care about the characters as he simply isn't interested in creating realistic worlds. You finish watching his movies feeling pleased that your film knowledge is strong enough to survive all the references and tributes thrown at you and then you end up feeling irritated that you have allowed yourself to get drawn into some kind of self-inflicted movie geek film quiz rather than simply going along to watch the picture.
Such is the power of the Auteur!
And yet, and yet....... Inglorious Basterds is fascinating, engaging, funny, clever, well-made and simply miles better than most mainstream movies you're likely to see in any given year. Yes, the scenes are all too long - yet they never bore and they often create superb tension. Yes, the characters often appear stereotypes - until a piece of dialogue reveals something new and unexpected. Yes, the film appears little more than a series of individual set pieces - until something important comes up that relates directly to an earlier scene.
My one problem with the picture is with the climax, which, though it tie's up all the loose ends and leads to a literally explosive resolution, nevertheless overdoes the alternative history lesson. Up until this point the film largely plays within the facts of WWII history, but the finale's rampant fiction somehow makes what has gone before a little meaningless and irrelevant. It also somewhat compromises a couple of key characters, whose actions contradict - and not in a believable way - much that has been carefully established about them in the preceding two hours.
And the acting? Well in an ensemble cast Brad Pitt enjoys himself immensely as the leader of the Basterds and Diane Kruger, as a Dietrich-like movie star and double agent, is much less stilted and more engaging than in any previous film. However pride of place goes to largely unknown Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, playing a relentless SS Jew hunter whose viciousness is hidden by an outwardly charming manner. A pity that it is his character who is most compromised by the finale.
All in all, well done Quentin - you've managed to pull it off yet again. I suspect I'll always have my reservations about you, but the fact remains that nobody does it quite the way you do.
This is no glory flick. Of all the films that have been compared with Inglourious Basterds, the Hannibal Lecter films struck me hard as a comparison.
I can understand how reversing historical facts is entertaining and can inform new audiences of how they originally happened. So, the savagery of the German killing of millions of civilians, in the early nineteen forties, is portrayed by the savagery of a group formed to kill German soldiers in the same period. Only German uniforms legitimise their actions.
Tarantino's skill lies in how he saves the real horror for the dialogue. So many scenes are imbued with so many layers that the tension beneath what is being said is truly palpable for the audience. One thing that remains from most German war films is the shear fear of those in command in the SS and the Gestapo. Their entrances are deliberately theatrical. They always command the stage.
Pretence is a very frail front in a time of war. Wafer thin. Watch this film on your own at your peril. This film contains real pain unlike many of the post-war films. 'Kelly's Heroes' presented us with a clean war. A war were oddballs were lauded and praised and necessary, a war for a recognisable profit (gold) and a war of brilliant humour between men energised by the thought of making something from it. I saw it at the ABC in St. Helens in my teens, Saturday matinee and left whistling the theme tune and reflecting on all those "negative waves." Free individuals looking out for each other because of a common goal.
Inglourious Basterds is not entertaining. I bought the dvd of 'District 9' recently and reviewed it in poem form. When I saw that film I could hardly wait to see it again. It is interesting that Tarantino's film has not been available for rental. Initially I thought that this may be due the very graphic violence but I also note the Coen brothers' 'A Simple Man' is not available for rental. Directors who are guaranteed an audience can rely on cinema sales and dvd sales it seems. I wonder if they may be cutting off an audience? Or is pay-per-view the future?
The soundstage is very important for any Quentin Tarantino film. Although the 5:1 sound of Inglourious Basterds is barely utilised, his use of music and prop sounds across left and right speakers adds to the feeling of an orchestrated appeal to your senses which I'm not sure you would get from the cinema or standard stereo TV broadcast. I have never heard Beethoven's Für Elise being used for the coming of doom as it is in an early scene. Disturbing your senses. Poking your bullet hole.
It's difficult to be on anybody's side in this film. Time passes quickly when you are so totally engaged. Like kiddies at a puppet show? More like the crowd around the hanging. The Third Reich was an abhorrence that much is certain. I just wish, I just wish the fight back was with something I could support. See this film and ponder.
I have read somewhere that Tarantino thinks this may be his masterpiece. He must be suffering from memory loss. Any Director that sets the bar so high with films like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction will struggle to match there brilliance. I thought the "Kill Bill" Series showed that he was coming back onto top form as the "go to" virtuoso director of modern movies. Unfortunately "Inglorious Basterds" is a bit of a miss step albeit it has its moments. It's Tarantino so certain parts are excellent and the dialogue scenes are especially strong. Brad Pitt however is neither fish not fowl as Lieutenant Aldo Raine the "Apache" leader of the Jewish gang of brutalised soldiers "the basterds" and the concept of a spaghetti-western-inspired war film works but never quite convinces.
When the film concluded I felt very flat about it. I have no problems with Tarantino re writing the ending of the Second World War. Similarly I thought Christoph Waltz's part as the "Jew Hunter" stole every scene in the film with his character Hans Landa deeply sinister yet surprisingly charming. This is the sign of true monster. The problem is that the "gang" themselves are forgettable other than for the grizzly "torture" scenes. The comedy is bit Laurel and Hardy, (the Italian accents scene is mildly funny) and it's a film full of film references and knowing cinematic pastiche which will be lost on many who may just see the violence. It also proves that the Germans must have a sense of humour since the portrayal of every German here is unflinchingly unsympathetic and on occasions borders on racism, and the yet the German government allegedly part financed it! Tarantino even "good in parts" is a much better prospect than most mainstream Hollywood directors and IBs has its moments but as for his best film or a thrilling return to form, "absolut keinen weg" as they say in Baveria.
on 22 December 2015
Of course you don't go to a QT movie for historical accuracy: you go for a dramatic tale, with plenty of tension, and lots of irreverent laughs. As a complete iconoclast, QT has no qualms about using "Hitler" or "the French" or "the Germans" or "the Jews" (etc etc etc) the way a child would take familiar characters out of a box to play puppet theatre with for their own amusement. Avoid this film if you're likely to be offended by this -- I had to set aside a little bit of queasiness over the treatment of real events as the plot background for pure escapist fantasy (without the poignant revenge element of, say, Mel Brooks' "The Producers"). But, errrrmmmmmm.... not actually very entertaining fantasy, sadly. The film excels at ratcheting up anxiety and fear in apparently innocuous exchanges, such as the opening scene and the jovial chatter in a bar, where polite conversation conceals life-and-death antagonism. Apart from those bits, I found the film dull and tedious, and the ending was just completely daft.
on 2 August 2012
The hallmarks of Tarantino are all here: set-piece scenes of sharp, witty dialogue interspersed with moments of bloody violence. If you like Tarantino, you should like this and if you like war films you may like this: you're not going to get epic battles in a Tarantino movie- it's all about the talking and the building of tension until that burst of violence. Because of these long conversations, the film can seem a little over-long but if you cut these scenes down to their mere plot function you'd entirely miss the point.
It's hard to provide examples without throwing in spoilers but it's like Pulp Fiction's burger eating scene: Jules and Vincent could just go in and shoot the guys but instead we're treated to Jules ramping up the tension, conveying a menace that violence alone wouldn't accomplish. That's basically how things run here until the final act when things come to a head in a very similar fashion to The Dirty Dozen, however, the film never lets you rest with your expectations so expect the unexpected!
If you can get past the trademark Tarrantino gore, then you will love this film as it contains some impressive acting and superb cinematography.
A fair amount of action and plenty of humour - especially Brad Pitt's hilarious 'buongiorno' - it is the acting that takes the prize. Starting with Mr Pitt, he gives an excellent performance as the leader of 'the Basterds' who are a huge thorn in Hitler's side; but it is Christoph Waltz who steals the film and dominates every scene he is in. With amazing acting skills and a superb command of languages he is mesmerizing, so it's of no surprise he won an Oscar for his performance.
I would consider the violence to be gratuitous in the 'scalping' and if toned down, would have improved the film; but then that wouldn't have been Tarrantino and would probably have disappointed his die-hard fans
Overall, it has to be 5 stars!
on 19 July 2015
This has to be my favourite Tarantino film. A WAR story which stands well on its own with a blend of comedy and keeping to the fact that war is NOT a nice thing from the opening scene to the bar scene to the conclusion, with a slight twist that only Tarantino can pull off. The story flows well, unlike some of Tarantino's other films which are confusing. All of the cast works well with the level of both a comic fill and serious side too. The stand out has to go to Christoph Waltz who's just superb and was awarded the Oscar. The Blu Ray is well presented and has many good extras, one of which is the feature on the original Inglourious B from which Tarantino's is all a different affair. -Brilliant