It’s taken over 10 years to be written and created for the big screen and it’s taken long enough for Tarantino to finally get back on form with Inglorious Basterds.
Funny enough there is an actual plot here! oh Yes!! It’s 1940’s Nazi-Occupied France, Lt.Aldo Raine(Brad Pitt) and a merry bunch of Basterds a ruthless squad of American-Jewish Soldiers spread their terror through the German army. The allies ask for their help take out the whole German High command, including Hitler (yes, Hitler as well!!) who will all be at a Gala film premiere at a cinema in Paris. The cinema is also run by Shosanna Dreyfus a Jewish survivor (you learn about in the first part of the movie)who also has her own plans for vengeance as well.
First of all, this isn’t the dirty dozen redux as many websites, blogs, movie press have sometimes labelled this, oh no. There is little inspirations from Dirty dozen but not much to call it a redux. This movie isn’t all guns blazing opens up with a long conversation between a French farmer and the “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa played by the brilliant Christoph Waltz. The whole scene you wonder what’s going to happen, and with scene of the nazi soldiers approaching the look on the French farmer’s face seen them you wonder will this be an execution of the farmer? When Landa is gulping down his glass of milk, his comments on the farmers daughters and cows (uses cache which means cows in French but also can be used as a vulgar term for vagina), the farmer just gets more nervous and reverts to pipe smoking and Landa just goes one better (well have to see what happens next? go see it). I just had that feeling like you’re asked to hold your breath under water for a certain length and the pressure intensifies and you give up like seconds to go.
The Basterds themselves don’t come into the second chapter, well there not in this a lot actually in this a lot full stop. When they are in they chomp, they beat, shoot, they bat (both, all he was good at in this, keep to making horror flicks Eli please)and not forgetting scar. The Basterds love to leave a little momentum for one of their nazi hosts, a little swastika carved into their foreheads so leaving a message for the other nazi’s know what basterds they are.
Sometimes I asked myself who is really the lead actor here? Pitt or Waltz? Though both were good at what they were asked to do in the movie. Brad Pitt Despite appearing in only 3 of the chapters and doesn’t fire a gun he is a very funny charming and the way Raine attempt’s to take in other culture is like asking a drunk man to walk in a straight line (commendable effort but way offline). Pitt’s character belts out some great dialogue in his deep Kentucky accent and his use of French, German and Italian in one-liners and speeches were just top-notch. It was the impersonation of Italian I loved as I spent 2 summers working in Sorrento, Italy and like Raines Accent strong Scottish and in some cases need for subtitles. I think there was also the running “gag” Pitt had in Ocean’s 11 here, a lot of scenes where he was always eating, drinking or chewing, mmm?
Pitt was great but Christoph Waltz was the star of the movie. A multilingual power crazed, calculating, confident, contradicting nasty but at times a silly piece of work. “Jew Hunter” (or whatever company he was with called him) he got some the movie’s best bits, well “That’s A bingo!”, you’ll clearly see why Waltz won the best actor award at Cannes and don’t be surprised if he’s up there in February running for one of those little golden statues (Oscars). To me Pitt and Waltz complimented each other, they are the movie’s Ying and Yang, bringing balance and order to the Basterds.
As the movie progressed this movie gets funnier and funnier and more and more bullets fire as the body hit the floors and the ” Once Upon A time….in Nazi-Occupied France” kicks in with its O.T.T ending. C’mon all The clue is in the opening title!!! This is no reconstruction of an actual event, this is pure fantasy influenced by an event (World War 2). Tarantino makes it so clear he’s not making Schindler’s list or any other War movie, this is like the old Marvel Comic title “What if…”, What if a bunch of American Jewish Soldiers killed all the German Higher Archy!!!.
What gives this movie its finishing touches is the excellent choice of music for the soundtrack and Tarantino knows his cool music from his bad. The Basterds is a Spaghetti Western influenced war movie and the use of Ennio Morricone gives the movie a very classy feel to it. Even uses a version Cat People (putting out the fire) by David Bowie which did it for me been a big Bowie fan.
The only down points for me was Eli Roths acting, he’s okay as a background tough guy, keep to directing. The other was the use of Mike Myers as the posh English general which had a hint of Austin Powers to it, I was Just waiting for some of the shagadelic powers quotes.
Let’s make it clear Quinten Tarantino is the Movie fanboy living the dream. He uses all the genres, actor, music that has influenced him down the years and create some fantastic pieces of work, he’s went where no fanboy or fangirl has gone before. I cant comment on Grindhouse/Deathproof as I havent seen them but Inglorious Basterds is a fantastic tale of fantasy,carnage, dark humour as well as some Over the top action with excellent dialogue and oneliners. Mr Tarantino the Basterds sees on back on form and we salute you, roll on Machete!
★★★★ | Paul Devine
Originally posted at The Peoples Movies |6th September 2009