Inglourious Basterds (2009)

In German-occupied France, young Jewish refugee Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the slaughter of her family by Colonel Hans Landa. Narrowly escaping with her life, she plots her revenge several years later when German war hero Fredrick Zoller takes a rapid interest in her and arranges an illustrious movie premiere at the theater she now runs. With the promise of every major Nazi officer in attendance, the event catches the attention of the Basterds, a group of Jewish-American guerrilla soldiers led by the ruthless Lt. Aldo Raine. As the relentless executioners advance and the conspiring young girl's plans are set in motion, their paths will cross for a fateful evening that will shake the very annals of history. - synopsis from IMDB

 Cast  - full listing

 Genres

comedy, history

 Facts & Figures

Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth.

Rated 8.3 on IMDB from 948727 votes.

Runtime: 153 min.

 Review

For what was otherwise a rather lousy summer season so far, in comes Inglourious Basterds. And it comes in fast, loud and hard. Tarantino’s new flick is controversial, confrontational, ridiculous and straight in your face. Long story short, it’s a Tarantino. People will hate this just for that fact, but hey, there’s always staying home…

Actually, it comes in slow, quiet and rather peacefully. Tension is built up meticulously in this movie at several moments. The opening scene is no exception. As always, these long build ups are interspersed with scenes of abrupt and brute violence. Timing is excellent - apart from one thing.

Although Tarantino is often praised for including great dialogue in his movies, in this one a lot of the dialogues are pretty mediocre. There’s no special twang, no unique undertone or brilliant uselessness to the discussions taking place. Most of them just take too long (and that’s including the stylistic minutes he always gets for free). And to that, the opening scene is no exception as well. I’ll admire holding on to the tension for that long before releasing, but it would have been nice to actually be watching something interesting in the mean time.

You have to credit Tarantino for still daring to put two actors at a table and let them, well, act really. The viewer is smart enough to feel the tension from just a discussion and understand what’s going on. Inglourious Basterds also has a sense of humor, in the ridiculous fashion we’ve become familiar with. Did the world really need an alternative ending to WWII? Does barbarism become more accepted as it seems more justified? These are topics under scrutiny with this production. Should Jewish vengeance really have a face and does all of this provide a means for entertainment? I’m not really sure Tarantino is concerned with all of these things. I think he just enjoys creating a unique take on a particular setting and just lets his imagination roll from there. That’s probably for the best anyway; at least know we get to see where that ends. This is, again, a one of a kind movie. And most definitely, yes, the world needs more of those.

Personally, I feel this lacks the polish and shine of other Tarantino’s. There are good performances from the actors and especially from Christoph Waltz who really goes all out with his over the top Gestapo agent portrayal. On a sidenote, it’s bad luck for those who only speak English: for once they’ll be the ones reading most of the subtitles. The music isn’t up to par as I was looking forward to and too much attention goes into characters explaining the story rather than the story telling itself while the characters just play their parts. All controversy aside, this is a highly entertaining movie, but it needed something else to go hors categorie. All in all, it’s just not up there with the others.

Seen: 04 Sep 2009

Inglourious Basterds

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