Movie Title: Inglourious Basterds
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Date Released: August 21st, 2009
Date Seen: When it first came and again on December 13th, 2012
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
Another great film brought to you by the genius that is Quentin Tarantino. With the amazing talents of Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, and even a little Samuel L. Jackson thrown in there narrating a bit, how can this movie just not be amazing? It follows a non-traditional (in that it’s OBVIOUSLY not true) story about the ending of WWII by following a couple of groups. The title group, the Inglourious Basterds, is a hodgepodge group of Jewish-American soldiers, as well as a few other randoms thrown in. We also follow the story of Shosanna Dreyfus – an escaped Jew, who happens upon a perfect opportunity for revenge. We also see Col. Landa, played Christoph Waltz, the SS commander in France, in nearly every single story. Of course, the 4 chapters converge, and “ohhh it’s a bingo!”.
I know a lot of people complain about how long this movie is… but I can say that both times I’ve watched the movie all the way through, I never noticed the length. It doesn’t drag on and changes fairly soon that you don’t get bored with the story. There’s not really any down time. Even the long talking parts are interesting and important to the plot. Another thing people might complain about is the subtitles – well, sorry, but it’s a major part of the plot the various languages. I have no problem with subtitles, and even in foreign films prefer the subtitles so I never have a problem with it. But, seriously, in this movie, it HAS to be done in the languages. The one scene in Chapter 1 where Landa (Christoph Waltz) asks to speak English actually bothered me. If a native German is conversing with a native Frenchman, wouldn’t he ask to speak German first? And then if he doesn’t speak German, then go to English. I mean, I know why he didn’t want to speak in French (so that the Jews wouldn’t understand him), but the transition to English just felt weird. But other than that – I loved the subtitles. I especially loved the parts in Chapter 3 when Frederick and other Germans are talking in German and we do NOT have subtitles – we are at a complete loss of what is going on, just like Shosanna. I love it.
I do believe the standout in this film is Christoph Waltz. I love a great bad guy. I also love intelligent charming bad guys and Christoph Waltz plays the SS Col. perfectly. One of the best parts about the character is how often he tries to use English idioms in his speech – sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re almost right, but they’re always hilarious and obvious. It’s worthy to note that Christoph Waltz won 27 awards for his role as Col. Landa, including an Oscar for best supporting actor.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
There’s a great synopsis here.
I’m moving this part down into here, because it can be sort of spoilery. One great thing about the movie is the use of music and pretty long continuous shots. Tarantino is really good about the spacing of people when they’re having conversations and is seriously a master of people conversing at tables. I know that sounds stupid, but a number of the scenes that stick out in my mind are table scenes. There’s the obvious entire beginning chapter, which is mostly powerful just because of the contrast between Col. Landa and that dirty milk farmer man. Then there is the scene in Chapter 3 with Shosanna at the table reading her book, and then again meeting with the film guy. I just like the way it was all set up. Then the scene in the bar in Chapter 4, which is hilarious during the card game, and then nerve-racking right before the shootout. I just like how a simple table conversation can change so much.
The music is also great – because of the editing. Chapter 5 is where I noticed in the most. You’d get some really intense music going – and then cut it off and go into a completely silent scene, or just people talking. For example, there’s some really tragic music playing when Shosanna shoots Fredrick, and then it just cuts it off, mid (musical) phrase – and goes to the Bear Jew and Omar in the bathroom. Also, when they are shooting up the opera booth, there’s one scene that is very reminiscent of Scarface – where some intense music is playing, and again, cuts it off. It makes you get in the mood of the scene and then startles you out of it. It keeps the scenes from getting too melodramatic (which the projector room scene was getting there… especially with how Shosanna looked), but still gives you a nice time to enjoy them.
I did see one interesting post that, if you want to look deeper into the movie – for a type of “lesson” from the movie, if you can call it that. I won’t go into as detailed as the post does (find it here) but just give you an overview of what it says. The first chapter, Col. Landa gives a good speech about the rat and the squirrel and how they’re no different and blah blah blah. Would you kill a squirrel? No. A rat? yes. Then the very next chapter we have a scene with the Basterds killing, scalping, and seriously fucking up some Nazis. In the theater, you know when Eli Roth walks out as the Bear Jew you are SO excited. That is one of the best scenes in the whole movie. Then, you are excited when he bashes the guys head in. Skip a bit to the final chapter – when we watch the Nazis cheering at the death and destruction at the film they are watching. They are cheering at the “hero” (Fredrick) shoot down all these non-Nazi soldiers. And are you disgusted by it? Yes, yes you are. If not disgusted, you are off put by the whole situation. But what a minute – weren’t just a few minutes ago you cheering when the Basterds were killing those Nazis? Yep. Double standard alright – just like the squirrel and the rat. Who is the squirrel and who is the rat? Depends on the situation, which side of the fence you’re on, and how you’re feeling that day. It’s an interesting way to look at it.
Definitely watch this movie, especially if you love Tarantino. It will have you laughing, excited, wanting to watch it again, and has something for everyone.