As any Tarantino fan should well know, he never tells a story in any predictable or cliched fashion. Inglourious Basterds
is no exception to his "usual" formula - the tale is broken up into various chapters; events and characters in each chapter will eventually come together and criss cross through each other's paths; there are the prolonged dialogue-heavy scenes; and as always, you can never be sure who's going to live or die.
This time, Tarantino has fashioned a World War II tale set in Nazi-occupied France. Strangely enough though, the "Basterds" aren't actually the focus of the movie, they come across as more of an after-thought, albeit a vital one to the plot. The dramatic substance of the film is carried by Shoshanna, who as a young girl witnessed her family getting killed by the dastardly Colonel Landa and his troops. Both these characters play pivotal roles in the film, and they're the ones whose destinies and outcomes most intrigue us as the viewer.
The performances are all quite good, with Christoph Waltz (in an Oscar-winning performance), pulling off the best role as the cunning yet devious Colonel Landa. He plays his character as someone so friendly one minute, and deadly serious the next as he's threatening to kill you, even though he is still smiling at you. Pitt displays his usual goofy charm as the leader of the Basterds, and Melanie Laurent also shines as Shoshanna, a young girl with only one thing on her mind - revenge!
While a definite change of pace for Tarantino, compared to his usual modern-day crime sagas, this film offers a different and welcome take on the war genre, (including a brilliant opening scene that will keep you on the edge of your seat). It's exciting, original and very smart at times. One of Tarantino's best, right up there with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.
It should be noted though, that at least 85% of this movie contains French and German dialogue, which of course means susbtitles for the viewer. This merely adds to the authenticity of the film, but it does at times prove to be a distraction, especially when one has to read the subtitles and also keep an eye on what's happening on the rest of the screen. Still, on the whole, it fully deserves it's 8 Academy Award nominations. Gripping! (4 out of 5, by Carlisle Johnson)
In the first year of the German occupation of France, Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.
Elsewhere in Europe, lieutenant Aldo Raine organizes a group of Jewish American soldiers to perform swift, shocking acts of retribution. Later known to their enemy as "the basterds," Raine's squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget von Hammersmark on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich.
Fates converge under a cinema marquis, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own.
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Review This Product
Wed, 3 Mar 2010 | Review by: Michelle E
This was the first Tarantino film I've seen and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Brad Pitt is hilarious and the rest of the cast are just as brilliant in their roles.
I would've given it 5 stars but the fact that most of the dialogue is in foreign language was extremely annoying - and made the film labour in parts.
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Thu, 22 Apr 2010 | Review by: Micky B
This Quentin Tarantino offering must not be confused with the 1978 Italian film of similar name, viz The Inglorious Bastards. Tarantino's picture received no less than eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Only one Academy Award was won, however... and nobody can dispute Christoph Waltz's Best Supporting Actor victory for his flawless performance here as super-Nazi Hans Landa (and to think that Leonardo de Caprio had also been a serious contender for the part. Sheesh...!)
The story comprises two simultaneous though unrelated plots to assassinate the Nazi Germany political leadership, one planned by a young French teenage Jewish cinema proprietor, Shoshana Dreyfus (Melaniť Laurent), and the other by a team of Jewish Allied soldiers led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). In regard to the latter: it was Tarantino's aim to make the WWII adventure epic to eclipse all similar films that have gone before, i.e. Guns of Navaronne; The Secret Invasion; The Dirty Dozen; Where Eagles Dare, etc. Many of the hand-picked cast members are unknown to us... and that makes for far greater a reality impact. Similarly, while the Americans speak English: the French speak French, and the Germans speak German. But the film is so gripping that one hardly even notices the subtiutles after the first minute or so.
The action is both violent and explicitly gory in parts, but the director was aiming at making the adventure/WWII picture to end all adventure/WWII pictures! We've already had The Guns of Navaronne; The Secret Invasion; The Dirty Dozen, and – the silliest of the lot – Where Eagles Dare. So why not now something far more realistic...from both sides' point of view?
Tarantino had wanted the great Ennio Marricone for the complete musical acore, but alas; Mr M was already heavily committed to another project at the time. He did, however, manage to compose eight short compositions; all of which are featured on the sound-track.
This film is already a landmark... and will, in years to come, probably come to be revered amongst the great action classics. Very positively recommended!
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