August 21, 2009
Review - " Inglourious Basterds " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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But the prospect of ambushing Nazi troops, cutting off their scalps and carving Swastikas on their foreheads gets a little old
after a while. That’s why Raine and his Basterds are more than ready, willing and able to take on a very dangerous mission
that has every reason to fail, but every hope to succeed.
When they find out that Holocaust mastermind Joseph Goebbels, other top Nazi officials and even Hitler himself have plans to
attend a film premiere honoring a Nazi war hero, the prospect of blowing up the theater with everyone inside - which would
effectively end the War - is just too good to pass up.
What they don’t realize is that the theater’s young owner, Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), has plans of her own to do
the same thing, but with motives that are much more personal. Three years after the massacre of her Jewish family, she
becomes obsessed with revenge against the Nazis — and specifically against Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), the
sick, twisted, conniving “Jew Hunter” who ordered the death of her family in the first place.
The performances all around are mesmerizing, with
many of the actors constantly shifting back and forth
between languages and accents. Brad Pitt is not one
of them, since his thick Tennessee accent is what
gives his unflappable character his charm, but he is
still terrific, engaging and funny.
Irish actor Michael Fassbender is also incredible as
the British commando who poses as a Nazi officer.
The scene in which he, a hot-tempered colleague
(Til Schweiger) and an actress-turned-double-agent
(Diane Kruger) have a standoff against Nazis in the
basement of a bar is beyond intense, and the
charming Fassbender could easily pass for a young
Melanie Laurent is compelling as the vengeful theater
owner who tries to resist the advances of the Nazi war
hero (charmingly played by Daniel Bruhl), but the scene-stealer of “Inglourious Basterds” - as well as the standout
performance of the year - belongs to Austrian actor Christoph Waltz. Words cannot do justice to his Delta-worthy turn as the
sociopathic Nazi Colonel Hans Landa - by far the best movie villain since Hannibal Lecter from “The Silence of the Lambs.”
That’s obvious from the very first scene, in which Landa interrogates a French farmer who is suspected of hiding a Jewish
family. At first, he is courteous, gracious and disarming - all of which make him hard to resist. But as the intensity slowly builds
with each passing snippet of dialogue - during which Waltz seamlessly changes from German to French to English — his
ominous motive becomes clear, as does the reason for his vicious nickname.
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Til Schweiger,
Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl
Director Quentin Tarantino plays havoc with history as well as spelling
in his newest glorification of violence, "Inglourious Basterds"
Say what you want about Quentin Tarantino. His movies may not be
for everybody, but they’re certainly not boring either. They’re also not
like anyone else’s movies, thanks to his unbridled talent for writing
snappy dialogue and his devoted passion for directing with a pulp-
oriented style that’s visually stunning, dramatically intense and always
uber-violent and bloody. Tarantino has a tendancy to make the
violence and bloodshed so over the top that it almost becomes funny.
“Inglourious Basterds” is Tarantino’s 5-part revenge fantasy about a
group of pumped-up Jewish-American soldiers who strike back
against the Nazis during World War II. And after seeing Jews suffer
repeatedly in one Holocaust movie after another, it sure is refreshing
and rousing to see them give it back, and in a very big way.
For Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), it’s not about quantity - it’s
about quality. That’s why, with just a handful of skilled, fearless,
resourceful soldiers under his command, he’s been able to spread
fear throughout the Third Reich on their very own turf: Nazi-occupied
France, circa 1944.
“I Think This Just Might Be My Masterpiece”
When a major character say these words during a
key moment in “Inglourious Basterds,” it’s hard not
to wonder if Tarantino is pattinghimself on the back
for his best and most commercially accessible film
At least he deserves the accolade, because
“Basterds” is bravura filmmaking at its finest. Even
if it's not particularly historically accurate, it IS fun
to watch. It’s not as violent one might expect
(though it does have its share of bloodshed), and it
never sags for onemoment of its perfectly paced 2
hour and 32 minute running time.
Who knows what Tarantino has up his sleeve next,
and who knows how long it will take before we see
it. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will bevisually stunning,
dramatically intense and always uber-violent and