Friday, August 21, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds
Originally uploaded by AsceticMonk
I don’t recall ever having as fun a time at a war movie as I just had at Inglourious Basterds. Inglourious Basterds is a wonderful contradiction as a film. It is set in a historical event, but does not follow history. It is an action film, but it delivers consistent laughs. It has great characters, but they are far too exaggerated to be real. It is fully restrained, but fully Tarantino.

As I’ve waited and prepared to watch Tarantino’s latest work I began to hope that Tarantino would have fun with World War II – not that I don’t respect the people that fought for our freedom, but Tarantino is not the director that would make Flags of Our Fathers. The tagline of this film was “once upon a time in Nazi occupied France” and I hoped it would be just what that promised – a WWII fairy tale. It was.

Tarantino makes no pretensions about being historically accurate. He made the kind of movie about Nazi’s and the allies he wanted to see – Tarantino made a spaghetti western about the Nazi occupation of France. He even had music by Ennio Morricone. Tarantino managed to still capture beautiful performances, strong characters, moving moments and wonderfully exaggerated action. All of these things are Tarantino, and yet this film was somehow more polished and cultivated than anything he’s done before.

Now that Tarantino has landed on the linear story line I hope he stays there. I appreciate all of the ways Tarantino tells his stories, but I have to admit that I used to think Tarantino couldn’t tell a cohesive story and that was why he felt the need to disjoint them. I am so glad to say that now that I have seen two linear films by Tarantino I was wrong. No matter how Tarantino tells his stories he tells them brilliantly and makes them incredibly entertaining.

Inglourious Basterds is wonderful, but part of that wonderful aura is Brad Pitt as The Apache. Oh dear goodness I wanted more of the Tennessee Nazi scalper. From the moment he appears on screen he steals the show and is just the best character you could imagine. He is tough, hard, whimsical and a fantastic Nazi killer. He deserves his scalps.

I am going to see Inglourious Basterds again. I know I am. If nothing else because I am fascinated that finally, finally Tarantino made a film so reflexive that the third act actually takes place in a cinema…

DirectoR & Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Lt. Aldo Raine: Brad Pitt
Shosanna: Melanie Laurent
Col. Landa: Christoph Waltz
Sgt. Donowitz: Eli Roth
Lt. Hicox: Michael Fassbender
Bridget von Hammersmark: Diane Kruger
Frederick Zoller: Daniel Bruhl
Hugo Stiglitz: Til Schweiger

Lt. Aldo Raine: You probably heard we ain't in the prisoner-takin' business; we in the killin' Nazi business. And cousin, Business is a-boomin'.

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