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Posts Tagged ‘Inglorious Basterds’

Movie premiere Natzi style

Forget everything you knew about World War 2. In going to watch Inglourious Basterds you must leave all knowledge of history behind before entering a theater. Tarantino’s newest, revenge detailing epic, has nothing to do with what actually happened. This is one factor in favor of the movie from the start, unlike with most war movies from WW2, you haven’t got the barest inkling of what will happen.

Inglorious Basterds follows two distinct storylines: One half of the movie follows lieutenant Aldo Rayne, in command of a bunch of Jew American soldiers, calling themselves the Inglourious Basterds, sent to Nazi occupied France before the actual invasion with a mission: killing Nazis and scalping them. Make no mistake, lieutenant Aldo Rayne wants those scalps. 100 from each of his basterd to be exact, as you may have gathered from a trailer to the movie. The other half follows Jew girl Shosanna, who, after having her family brutally disposed of by the Natzis, starts taking care of a movie theater. Later in the movie these two storylines intertwine.

Donny, this might be my masterpiece

The movie’s beginning words: “Once upon a time … in Nazi Occupied France” point out two important points about the movie. Its based in World War 2 and loans a lot from Sergio Leone’s westerns. The beginning of Inglourious Basterds had me instantly thinking of Leone. A lone house in French countryside, a man with three daughters looks towards an incoming Nazi patrol, whose leader, colonel Landa, has a long talk with the Frenchman, LaPadite. Soon we find out that he is hiding Jews under his house. Now this whole sequence reminded me of the scene in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly where Angeleyes(The Bad) goes to a farm and gets the farmer to tell him a secret by merely being menacing. The filmography in Tarantino’s film was also reminiscent of Leone, at least in that first sequence, with a close up of LaPadite’s face. More strongly the music and just a general feeling of suspense create the feeling of watching a Leone western.

Inglorious Basterds is, in many ways, a spagetti western set in World War 2, only with a fair taste of Tarantino mixed in, and that taste sets this film apart. Unlike Leone’s westerns, with their quiet main characters, Basterds has an astounding amount of dialogue. All the talking is paced out with outbreaks of violence and some magnificent filmography. What also sets the movie apart is how much humour it contains. Nazis have never been funnier and most people will walk out of the movie with a huge grin on their faces. Even the more brutal scenes cause laughter because of the way they’re filmed. I never thought I’d laugh at someone carving a swastika on a Nazi soldiers forehead or when one of the basterds hacks away at another one’s head.

We've got a homerun!

You can expect a lot of Tarantinoisms, as one could call his traditional trademarks. Feet get into a close-up, there’s a Mexican standoff, it doesn’t seem like one at first but one character carefully explains that this is the case. The movie even contains some critical discussion on German movies from the 1920s and one British commando, a film critic, is chosen for his knowledge on German movies.

All of the actors capture their characters, with Bradd Pitt doing an especially delicious role as Aldo Rayne, well worth the five bottles of wine he needed in order to agree to play it. But rising above all others is Cristoph Waltz, playing Hans Landa. A charming Nazi officer and one of the best villains in Hollywood since Heath Ledger’s Joker. Waltz had only acted in German movies earlier.

If Tarantino being Tarantino doesn’t bother you, he does like to leave his handprints all over a movie, you are in for the most entertaining movie of the year. I doubt anything can top of the pure entertainment value of Inglorious Basterds. My opinion might be colored by the fact that the movie seems especially tailored for my tastes. I love Sergio Leone, Tarantino as a director and witty dialogue so I can’t help but love this movie.

The trailer doesn’t capture the mood of the movie but does contain a speech by Aldo Rayne.

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