Let’s face facts, when it comes to films, Quentin Tarantino does things his own way and he doesn’t care who he offends or annoys. (Just thought I’d put it out there.) Now, I’m not a die-hard QT fan. I like most of his films, but I don’t jump on the Tarantino train every day of the week. He’s a great director and I think his movies have a way of growing on you, getting better with repeated viewings.
This is the case with Inglorious Basterds. I enjoyed it on the first watch, but when I saw it the second time, I loved it. This is a crazy movie that takes you to a time that ain’t in the history books. This re-writing of WWII features:
- Brad Pitt and a team of vengeful Jews
- Two Nazi assassination plots
- An SS Colonel who steals every scene.
- Explosions, bloody violence and Nazi hunting.
- And a really great, no-nonsense heroine.
These elements make for a stylish, suspenseful and bizarre movie, that’s more or less a middle finger at the audience. The opening scene, in which SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), is searching for a local Jewish family, sets the tone for the rest of the film. He interrogates a French farmer and the tension in this scene builds and builds, and it’s ridiculously good. I have to say it, you’ll be on the edge of your seat!
Jumping forward three years, the film introduces a small-team of Jewish American soldiers, led by Brad Pitt’s character Lieutenant Aldo Raine. The team has been set-up for one reason and one reason only: to spread fear among German soldiers by brutally killing them. No director has a bigger thirst for violence than Tarantino. Why he likes it so much, I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine. But the violence in his films always makes sense within the context of the characters. In Inglorious Basterds specifically, it’s done in a way that doesn’t make you question its existence.
Eventually, the Nazi-hunting team cross paths with Shosanna (Melaine Laurent), a young French-Jewish woman, who we initially meet at the start of the film. The main story centres on how they start working on a big plan to wipe out the leading Nazi figures.
So, Tarantino has created a movie on the basis of “What if?”, while making arguably a satirical throwback to WWII movies. Whether you love it or hate it, the key is to not take Inglorious Basterds too seriously. I think that’s half the problem with people who didn’t like this film. You’re all taking it too damn seriously! It’s very tongue-in-cheek and self-aware, like every other Tarantino movie to date.
And like every Tarantino movie, Inglorious Basterds is full of scenes with people just having conversations with each other. There is one stand-out moment involving Michael Fassbender, which I won’t give away, but if you know, you know. Some scenes do drag on for too long, though. This film is mostly about the dialogue and the characters, and not so much the action. There are some great action set pieces, but they mostly take place in the second half of the film, which is a lot better than the first.
This is a great piece of cinema with entertaining performances and a gripping story. I would have preferred the film to be shorter because it does seem to go on forever, but it takes you on a chaotic adventure, with the Basterds on a rampage.
Written and directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Christoph Waltz, Melaine Laurent, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl.
Distributors: The Weinstein Company (US), Universal Pictures (Theatrical)
Run Time: 153 minutes.
Let me know what you thought of the film in the comment section!