Friday, December 21, 2012

Inglorious Basterds (2009) Review

Inglorious Basterds poster
Part of Merry Christmas and Happy Tarantino Month!

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Brad Pitt, Cristoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth
Genre: War, Comedy, Macaroni Combat

Tarantino's most recent film (not counting Django Unchained, which, as of writing, will be released in a few days) and boy what a fantastic film it is. If Kill Bill was his Martial Arts Revenge Epic, then Inglorious Basterds is certainly his War Epic.

I should say that it's a little hard for me to review this one. Whereas I've seen all of Tarantino's other films a multitude of times, I've only watched Inglorious Basterds twice (as of writing). I do like it, however many of the reasons why I like it are unknown to me. It's a very subjective movie for me. Anyway, onward to the review!

The film concerns two plots to kill Adolf Hitler. The first plot is a Special Unit of American soldiers who have plans to kill Hitler. At the same time a Jewish girl who owns a cinema also has plans to kill Hitler. The American soldiers and the Jewish girl know nothing of each other's plans, but they end up indirectly effecting each other.

There's some fantastic scenes in here. The opening scene is marvelous and intense. It shows just how ruthless the Nazis can be. The scene that follows shortly after, with American soldiers torturing Nazis for information, also a marvelous scene, shows us just how ruthless the Americans can be. Other favorite scenes of mine include the tavern scene and the cinema scene.

Inglorious Basterds is a sort of Macaroni Combat film, the Spaghetti Western of war. There is no shortage of graphic violence in here. People getting their faces shot up, their heads bashed in. It's a very violent movie, and you either love that or hate it. But that by no means makes it a realistic film, on the contrary it's a very exaggerated (stylized even) and comedic film. 

Films don't often make me laugh out loud, but Inglorious Basterds manged to make me. The scene with three American jarheads trying to pretend to be Italians is hilarious. One of the funniest things I've ever watched. As violent and savage as Inglorious Basterds can be, it also has it's very funny moments. 

Inglorious Basterds tavern scene

There's many of Tarantino's signature long-takes, and many scenes go on for minutes upon minutes with nothing but dialogue carrying them. It's very dangerous to leave the audience with nothing but talking for such long takes but Tarantino proves again and again that he can pull it off (except for maybe in Death Proof). The film is very well written and the dialogue is great. We never really get to know the characters very well, and I can't say the character development is terribly great, but the characters are all quite interesting. 

Eli Roth and Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds

The cast and performances are great. Brad Pitt does a fabulous job as a (somewhat dumb, yet always capable)  American soldier. Eli Roth, who I usually don't much like as an actor (or as a director for that matter), I didn't mind at all in here. He did a good job. Christoph Waltz perhaps steals the show here as a Nazi soldier. You'll see other faces like Mike Myers or hear the voices of Samuel L. Jackson and Harvey Keitel. It's, as are all Tarantino films, a wonderfully cast film.

The soundtrack here is much less vocal and pop compared to Tarantino's other films. There's a lot of Ennio Morricone stuff taken from other films that sounds great. There's even a David Bowie song in here...very odd indeed. It is a very good soundtrack, though perhaps not as stand-out as you may expect. 

Melanie Laurent in Inglorious Basterds

Inglorious Basterds is a highly enjoyable film, and while it may be a genre film turned art film, I think one must watch it primarily for entertainment. It's far from a serious movie, but if you know how to approach it I think you'll find yourself very pleased.

4.5/5 stars

Purchase Inglorious Basterds on Amazon: Blu-Ray - DVD - Stream - Combo

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