Movie Reviews
Due to their primitive non-laser shooting weaponry, WWII ended quickly and with minor bloodshed.
Inglourious Basterds Review

Based loosely on an Italian knock-off of “The Dirty Dozen,” and even more loosely on the history of World War II, it would be a disservice to all parties to call Quentin Tarantino’s latest effort a remake. “Inglourious Basterds” isn’t your typical war story, and it deviates so far from the source material that it’s nearly criminal suggest that it’s a historical drama. The film is drenched in historical references, which include dramatized versions of predominant figures in the western front and a slew of references to the German propaganda machine; but this authentic setting simply serves as a backdrop for the absurdities that follow.

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This is a story of retribution and revenge, which begins in 1941 in the countryside of a Nazi occupied France. Here the young Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses her families demise at the hands of Colonel Hans “The Jew Hunter” Landa (Christoph Waltz). Prior to being thrust into the future, the audience is then introduced to the final constant in this equation, the iconic and unforgettable Lieutenant Aldo “The Apache” Raine (Brad Pitt). In typical Tarantino fashion, these events put forward the first chapters in two parallel plots that ultimately drive towards the same history bending conclusion.

Following the orientation, we move immediately in the direction of the climax. Time skips four years into the future, in the days that lead up to the end of War in Europe. How we arrive at that end, is something that Tarrintino does not leave up to history. It’s important while watching “Inglourious Basterds” to separate it from the classic (if not more accurate) versions of the war that we’re all familiar with. This is not a nod to the heroes of our greatest generation, but a gory-yet-amusing depiction of what is perhaps the least amusing subject possible.

Shosanna’s motive for revenge upon the invading army is wholly civilian, but Raine’s mission is sanctioned madness. Brad Pitt delivers again, as the Tennessee (and part Native American) Jew who has no mercy on his enemy. Pitt’s “Basterds” are a colorful troop of American Jews whose secret (yet infamous) mission is to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by brutalizing their numbers. As Raine tells one captive German, “You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business; we in the killin’ Nazi (pronounced “nat-zee”) business. And cousin, Business is a-boomin.”

Brad Pitt does more before 6am than Ed Norton does all day.

In the years following the death of her family, Shosanna has escaped to Paris, where she owns and operates a small movie theater. This location provides the story with its final destination, and the young Jew with an opportunity for revenge. A Nazi war hero named Frederick Zoller (Daniel Brühl) becomes smitten with Shosanna, and “invites” her to a meeting with the king of Nazi propaganda, Joseph Goebbels (Sylvester Groth). It is at this meeting that she is reunited with her principal enemy, Hans Landa, and learns that the premier of Goebbels new film will bring the entire Nazi high command to her movie house.

Ignorant of each others plot to cripple the Third Reich, Shossana’s mission of personal retribution moves forward along side a American and British plan to destroy the theater and kill the Nazi command. The military action in the build up to these final scenes is packed with precious dialog (though much of it is in German and French) and supported by the strikingly good (and strikingly good looking) Diane Kruger, playing the German movie star turned allied spy, Bridget von Hammersmark.

Believe it or not, but "Stuck In the Middle With You" isn't playing here.

While Pitt’s performance is one of the highlights of this pulp piece, he his held up by a shockingly good supporting cast. Although the “Basterds” may seem like the centerpiece of the self proclaimed “Spaghetti Western,” they are only a small component of this often shocking adventure. Characters like Sergent Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz (Eli Roth) and the Nazi turncoat, Sergent Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger) merely prop up Pitt, while Mélanie Laurent and Christoph Waltz shine on their own.

What happens next is a surprise worth not giving away. All I can reveal without ruining the climax, is that this is hardly the history you learned in school (or on the Military Channel). The films climactic moments also provide its most genuinely funny moment—Aldo Raine speaking Italian (pronounced “I-talian”) with a thick Southern accent.

Due to their primitive non-laser shooting weaponry, WWII ended quickly and with minor bloodshed.

This movie is madness. It may annoy some to find that it is so far disconnected with the history it surrounds itself with, and it may take some people by surprise how dialog heavy the films longest stretches are, but in the end it’s well worth it. It’s not Tarantino’s master work, but it helps expand his already impressive catalog with another fun ride. This film is excessively well written, and unsurprisingly hilarious at times. While hardly serious, and seriously ridiculous, “Inglourious Basterds” manages to say more about the absurdity of War than it may have set out to in the first place, and it does it with ironic wit and equally absurd violence.

This is no war movie, but it’s a well penned romp that is too fun to miss.

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