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September 7, 2009 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Inglorious Basterds


Quentin Tarantino. The name is synonymous with successful independent cinema and he is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest directors. Inglorious Basterds is a film that shows Tarantino’s strengths and exactly why he has garnered the reputation the preceeds him. To enjoy Basterds one first needs to get over the film’s shameless exploitation of history.

The story follows Shossanna (Laurent), a Jewish girl who survived the massacre of her family and vows revenge on the Nazi responsible, Hans Landa (Waltz). Fortunately she inherited a cinema, which all of Nazi high command, including Hitler, will be attending for the premiere of Goebbels new propaganda film. The more advertised but less important story is that of Lieutenant Aldo Raine’s (Pitt) Jewish-American Nazi hunters who destroy the morale and scalp countless Nazi soldiers in France.

Basterds is structured into chapters ala Kill Bill, and while enjoyable the episodic structure destroys the forward momentum of narrative and leaves you feeling as if you’ve watched a series of interconnected scenes. These, however, are some of the best scenes you will watch all year. Highlights including a comparison of Goebbels to the the Jews of Hollywood and the clever discussion of King Kong in a bar room game.

Three performances stand out in Basterds. Pitt’s Aldo with his Tennessee drawl is on a different comedic level to everything else in the movie. The character is so over the top it looks as if Brad is playing him as a joke, but somehow this works for the film. Laurent’s Shoshanna is the right mixture of innocence and revenge-driven fire. Hans Landa, the despicable but oh-so-charming Nazi villain of the film is a character that is already iconic, and Waltz plays almost every emotion throughout the film, instantly switching between them with brilliant results.

The greatest aspect of Basterds is its respect of an older style of cinema that is disappointingly becoming less and less frequent. Characters and dialogue are the heart and soul of this film and it is nice to see a high profile picture that actually has a story, scenes that last more than five minutes and minimal CGI. The fact the film is primarily in German and French was a very welcome surprise. Basterds, although flawed, leaves you hungry for the yesteryear of Hollywood.

Inglorious Basterds
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
With Brad Pitt, Christopher Waltz, Melanie Laurent


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