This film is fantastic. I’ve read a few reviews out there that call “Inglorious Basterds” a “mixed bag,” but the people who wrote those reviews are obviously idiots. This is easily one of Tarantino’s greatest works, possibly even surpassing “Pulp Fiction.” Of course this film isn’t for the stuck up snobs out there who aren’t Tarantino fans, but for everyone else, this film is for you.
On a small isolated milk farm in Nazi-occupied France, a young Jewish refugee named Shosanna (Melanie Laurent) is forced to witness the slaughter of her entire family at the hands of Nazi Col. Hanz Landa (Christoph Waltz) as they hide under the floorboards in a small house. Luckily Shosanna is able to escape and soon begins plotting revenge against the Nazis who murdered her family.
Around the same time, a small group of Jewish-American soldiers called the Inglorious Basterds, fronted by a tough-talking mustachioed southern man by the name of Lt. Aldo Rain (Brad Pitt), are dropped into enemy territory to spread fear through the hearts of Nazi soldiers during the Third Reich. Lt. Rain requires every man on his team of guerrilla warriors gathers 100 Nazi Scalps.
Several years later, Shosanna now owns and operates her own Cinema, which will soon become the exclusive venue for a prestigious German film premier, an event so glorious that even Adolf Hitler (Martin Wuttke) will be attending, giving her the perfect opportunity for revenge. Of course The Basterds are still making their way through France in bloody fashion, collecting Nazi Scalps all along the way, and once they catch wind of the premier, they decide to go after the Man in Charge instead of wasting time with foot soldiers.
Since I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone, this is as far as I’m going in terms of plot discussion. Let’s just say the ending is definitely a surprise.
At first glimpse the plot may not seem like anything too special. Nazis, Jews, and a group of renegade soldiers who survive against almost all odds in enemy territory with a limited arsenal. Sounds like the majority of World War II movies out there, doesn’t it?
But where “Basterds” is different isn’t in the plot, but in the film itself. This movie oozes Tarantino’s unique style, giving it the best aspects of many different genres of film making, so of course it isn’t your average War flick. Instead you get an absolutely phenomenal experience unlike anything you’ve seen in theaters this year.
Scratch that, there hasn’t been anything like this film in several years.
Like all Tarantino films, it is very hard to classify “Basterds” as anything other than a Tarantino Film. Anyone who has ever seen “Pulp Fiction” undoubtedly knows what I’m talking about. No one has any clue what the purpose or main topic of that movie is, but it is undeniably one of the greatest films ever made, and the same can be said here. Just because the story is driven by World War II doesn’t make this a World War II movie. It’s hard to explain, but once you see it for yourself you’ll understand.
The most impressive acting in this film actually didn’t come from Brad Pitt himself, which was very surprising to me. While Pitt’s performance was absolutely fantastic, his character completely awesome, and his Italian accent masterful, Christoph Waltz more than blows him out of the water. His execution of the character Col. Hanz Landa easily deserves an Oscar for Best Actor, because his performance is easily one of the best I’ve seen in a very long while, possibly ever.. He creates a character unlike any other, and I guarantee you won’t be able to take your eyes off him.
I also rather enjoyed Martin Wuttke’s performance as Hitler. Although he is often hit or miss, Quentin’s depiction of Hitler as a cowardice man is refreshing when sat next to how he is always made out to be some all powerful Satanic deity.
As phenomenal as this movie is, however, it does have some shortcomings. For starters, the Inglorious Basterds themselves got nowhere near enough screen time. I think the film should have focused on this group much more than it did, which would have allowed much more exploration of each character on the team. Less time could’ve been spent on the less interesting characters to allow for more thorough development of the Basterds, but then I would’ve complained about other characters not being as fleshed out as they could’ve been. Which brings me to my next point.
The movie has nearly two hours and forty minutes of air time, but it just isn’t enough. Most people who have yet to see this masterpiece are avoiding it simply because they think it will drag on forever, but that isn’t the case. I honestly wish this movie was longer, because despite clocking in at 152 minutes, it doesn’t have enough time to fully explore all of the characters.
As much as the movie does absolutely right, it doesn’t really revolutionize anything. The formula is standard Tarantino fare for the most part, the shocking moments are few and far in between, and there is a lot less action than I was expecting. Despite all of these complaints, “Basterds” is still a fantastic film and the good easily outweighs the bad.
As already stated, this movie is fantastic. I walked into the theater with high expectations and didn’t walk out disappointed. With the exception of a few very minor complaints, I have nothing but positive things to say about this film. This is the best Quentin Tarantino Film since “Pulp Fiction” and, next to Star Trek, the best movie I’ve seen this year. Highly recommended.
- Christoph Waltz’s performance as Col. Hanz Landa is superb
- Brad Pitt’s execution of Aldo Rain is fantastic
- You’ll laugh and cringe at the same time
- Fantastic all the way through
- Nazi Scalping
- Surprisingly short airtime for the actual Basterds themselves
- Not as much action as you might expect
Score: 9.0/10 (Superb)