TOP 100 MOVIES in 2009
Films by Year
Films by Director
Films by Actor
Films by Actress
Films by Alphabet
Submit your LOGLINE
TV Script Contest
1st Scene Contest
Short Story Contest
Comic Book Contest
Classic TV Contest
The West Wing
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.
I went to see this film with low expectations since the last Tarantino film I saw was 'Death Proof'. Every review I read said about Basterds was that it was Tarantino's 'masterpiece', 'his return to form'! Well they weren't wrong. This film is not like any war movie you have ever seen. Actually it's not like any Tarantino movie you have ever seen either. It's so much more. Those waiting to see this movie expecting 'Kill Bill' style action may be disappointed, but the razor sharp wit and dialogue will keep you just as entertained. For those wondering how I saw this movie before its release date, I was lucky enough to see an advanced preview.
From the opening sequence you know this is no ordinary war movie. You know you are in for something special when the opening sequence says, 'Once upon a time Nazi occupied France'. From there on you know this is pure Tarantino brilliance. But is 'Inglourious Basterds' his masterpiece? Well most critics seem to think so, but lets face it his back catalogue of films is very impressive and most could argue that all of his films are masterpieces in their own right. So what makes 'Inglourious Basterds' so special?
Let's start with the large list of intertwining characters, We'll start with the villain of the piece (no not Hitler, his scenes are just plain hilarious), Col Hans Landa ( Christoph Waltz). I guarantee you will be hearing a lot about this actor as he shines in every scene. His character is known as 'The Jew Hunter' and is infamous for his brutal nature, but the way he first appears on screen you wouldn't believe it. He has charm, charisma and a sly, devious and slightly psychotic nature, but then what would you expect from the main villain in a Tarantino war movie. Whenever Landa is on screen you know something terrible is going to happen and you'd be right. This is the most detestable character in the film next to Hitler, but you can't help but love and gaze in wonderment at every scene he's in and I mean every scene (if Christoph Waltz isn't nominated for an Oscar or BAFTA for his performance then the world has gone mad).
Next we have the star of the piece Shosanna (Melanie Laurent), she is one of the first characters you are introduced to, along with Col Landa. I won't spoil any of the details of her exploits as they are mostly major plot points, but her character is the key to all of the other characters coming together. She owns a cinema and has the misfortune to meet the Nazi hero of the moment Fredrick Zoller ( Daniel Bruhl). This is the catalyst for operation kino, which is when all the action occurs. Shosanna has seen the loss of her family thanks to the Nazis, specifically Col Landa and sees her chance for revenge when the Nazis want to hold a film premier at her cinema. Of course in Tarantino's films people have to have their revenge. Her character is one of the best female characters since 'The Bride' and has one of the best moments in the film when her image is projected on to the smoke from the fire. I can't say more then that with ot spoiling the film.
Now the 'Basterds' themselves. You are only introduced to a handful of the Basterds, firstly Lt Aldo 'Apache' Raine (Brad Pitt). Yes Brad Pitt is just as good as the trailers make him out to be and he practically steals any scene he is in, which is difficult when both him and Christoph Waltz are on screen. His Tennessee accent never drops thoughout and he has some of the most laugh out loud moments in the film. His 'Italian' accent is probably the best I've heard, he also has the most quotable speech since Jules' speech in 'Pulp Fiction', which is worth going to see this film for by itself.
Then we have Eli Roth. Now people were worried that he would be, well basically rubbish, but he is actually very well cast as Sgt. Donny Donowitz Aka 'The Bear Jew'. His introduction is drawn out and well executed. When he finally delivers the killing blow to the Nazi captive the whole scene is pure Tarantino and nothing is off screen or is cut away, you see every blow he throws land, which is never over the top and has some great camera work which makes this scene all that more gruesome and great. Of course Eli Roth has another great scene near the end involving Hitler, which you need to see to believe.
The other most memorable member of the Basterds is the ex-Nazi Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger). He gets the best introduction out of all of the characters in the film. He is somewhat of an enigma and not much is known about him other then he killed thirteen Nazi officers before being recruited into the 'Basterds'. His character's presence on screen is dominating and at times amusing. The bar scene is most stand out moment of a character owning the screen and creating laugh out loud humor. This scene is where operation kino is being constructed in the bar, this is one of the best scenes in the film, full of tension and bucket loads of dark humor.
Now the actual plot itself is completely character driven and it wouldn't work with any single character missing from the film. The plot is well thought out to the smallest detail and is one of Tarantino's best since 'Pulp Fiction'. The story takes place in Nazi occupied France, where the Basterds are killing and scalping Nazis, when they are ordered to take part in operation kino, which is where Shosanna plans to kill all of the Nazis including Hitler. The plot intertwines the characters in a complex way, but never so complex that you can't keep up and for all of the history buffs out there. You may be a little peeved at the liberty's taken, (Hitler, Goebbels, Churchill they're all there), but if you block out fact and just enjoy the fiction, then it is a fantastic story and yes Tarantino is back on form.
With a great cast, plot, soundtrack ( which is used at some great moments and reminiscent of some spaghetti westerns and is slightly 'Kill Bill'), 'Inglourious Basterds' is one of the best and most original films I have seen in a long time. As for 'Inglourious Basterds' being Tarantino's masterpiece, it is a case of making up your own mind about it and trying not to compare to his previous films, I don't think it has the class of 'Pulp Fiction' or the smarts of 'Jackie Brown', but most people seem to think this is his finest work. To quote Aldo Raine “I think this is my masterpiece”. Masterpiece or not this is an unmissable film.