Inglourious BasterdsBY: PAUL KIRKWOOD

THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN MILD SPOILERS

Back at it again with the Tarantino movies Paul…

At this point, I’m reminded why Tarantino is such a good filmmaker. While I hadn’t watched this movie until deciding to review it, I think this film has encouraged me to go on a Tarantino binge, starting with the films of his I haven’t seen before. Next up: “The Hateful Eight”!

The film stars A-list actor Brad Pitt alongside other, less well-known, but equally talented, actors such as Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Diane Kruger, Michael Fassbender, and Daniel Brühl. The total number of characters this film has is truly something to behold. Given Tarantino’s penchant for gory deaths, not all of them have happy resolutions within the story. Indeed, many characters seem to have no resolution at all, their lives cut tragically short before their purpose is completed.

The film contains two main plotlines. The first is the story of Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent), a young Jewish girl who witnessed the slaughter of her family by Christoph Waltz’s character, Hans Landa, ‘The Jew Hunter’. Having escaped, she now runs a theater, which is elected to showcase the premiere of the biggest German film in history at the time. This presents her an opportunity for revenge. The other storyline is that of Brad Pitt’s character, Aldo ‘The Apache’ Raine, a man who collects a group of elite Nazi-killing operatives to go behind enemy lines and sabotage the Third Reich from within. He, too, learns of the premiere, setting up an intersection of the two storylines.

Though both of the main characters have the same goal, and even eventually end up at the same place, they never meet or are even aware of each other. The plot, while complicated, is a bit messy and, as stated earlier, lacks resolution in many places. What really drives the film is character interaction. For most of the film, our heroes are placed in situations where they have to maintain cover under an assumed identity. They are Anne Frank if she decided to hide in plain sight. The film thus has a constant tension, and when that tension outstays its welcome, it is replaced by another tension: the goal of killing a theater full of Nazis. This goal almost goes awry, due to the wit and tenacity of Waltz’s character Landa, but, as is often the case in Tarantino films, we’re presented with a twist we didn’t see coming.

The film cribs its style directly from the Spaghetti Western, a genre that Tarantino is fascinated by. He said of the film, “I’m going to find a place that actually resembles, in one way or another, the Spanish locales they had in spaghetti westerns – a no man’s land. … That will really be my spaghetti Western but with World War II iconography.” The score is dominated by the work of Ennio Morricone (composer for classic westerns such as The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly), but also contains a smattering of other genres, which sometimes feel incongruous with the tone of the film but enhance its pulp appeal.

Overall, “Inglourious Basterds” is one of the funnier WW2 pictures ever made, if also one of the most exaggerated.

Final score: 9/10

 

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