Sunday, May 15, 2016

Inglourious Basterds (2009) - 8 stars out of 10

Inglourious Basterds (2009) - 8 stars out of 10

“Inglourious Basterds” is exactly what you would expect from a Quentin Tarantino war film.  It is a genre-bending, historically inaccurate look at WWII and it is surprisingly lighthearted (at times).  When I first watched this in 2009, I did not understand Tarantino’s films and found the splitting of the story into lengthy chapters (which effectively leaves particular characters out of the film for extended periods of time) to be frustrating.  Now that I have become more familiar with his work, I appreciate the film’s unique style and unconventional dialogue.  The story is fascinating and feels authentic because of the amount of dialogue in German, French, and Italian.  As in "Kill Bill," I appreciate that Tarantino always gives a reason for foreign characters to speak in English and uses a smooth transition to do so.  There was significantly less violence in this movie than other Tarantino films (ironic due to this being a war movie), but as a result the violent scenes have a huge impact.  The thing that makes this film so memorable is its acting.  This was the film that put Christoph Waltz on my radar and he was absolutely deserving of his Best Supporting Actor Oscar.  He always creates the most interesting portrayal of a bad guy, making them a personable character that you would want to hang out with while also exuding a passive-aggressive sinister quality.  Mélanie Laurent is an incredible young actress (only 26 in this film) and steals the spotlight during her interactions with Waltz and Daniel Brühl.  Diane Kruger is amazing as usual even though her screentime is limited and Brad Pitt brings great depth to his character.  The movie does have its disturbing moments that include scalping Nazis, carving swastikas into peoples’ foreheads, bashing in heads with a baseball bat, and the infamous scene where Tarantino legitimately chokes Kruger onscreen to guarantee the scene’s realism; however, it is much easier to avert your eyes from these moments than in the director’s other films.  “Inglourious Basterds” is full of blood, language, and graphic violence.  As long as you are prepared for those things, it tells an excellent story that makes it worth watching.  I believe that it falls short of “Kill Bill,” “Django,” and “Hateful Eight,” but that doesn’t make the film any less enjoyable to watch (if you can use the word "enjoyable" in regards to a film like this).

[Pictured: Christoph Waltz is one of my favorite bad guys ever, and Brad Pitt offsets him by creating a lighthearted mood throughout the film]

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