Inglorious Basterds: Review

Zachary Smith, Staff Writer

Quintin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” is a bold film that will entrance some, startle others and ultimately display why Tarantino is a mastermind director.

The film tells the story of a fictional alternate history of plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler and his Nazi political leadership. The first plot is planned by a team of Jewish-American soldiers known as the “Basterds,” and the other is planned by a young Jewish cinema owner.

The film begins in Nazi-occupied France, early on in World War II. The sardonic Nazi Col. Hans Landa arrives at a dairy farm where he believes a farmer is hiding Jews from the Germans. The scene drags in length and is filled with mannered, yet tense dialogue between Landa and the farmer, creating a great deal of angst. The scene ultimately ends in the discovery and slaughter of the Jewish family in hiding.

Tarantino continues to utilize long, drawn-out and dense dialogue between characters in times of tension so brilliantly. This pacing creates anticipatory feelings in the viewer as he or she waits and waits for what the viewer believes could or should happen in the scene, adding to the building suspense. Tarantino transfers control from character in character in this movie by way of dialogue, more so than gruesome actions.

The three main characters in the film are iconic and magnificent.

Aldo Laine, the leader of the “Basterds,” played by Brad Pitt, reigns from the heart of Tennessee and is the true definition of a southern man, rootin’ and tootin’ around, showing no mercy to his enemies. His platoon was required to provide him with 100 Nazi scalps each and Laine himself carved Swastikas into the foreheads of surviving Nazis, ruthless, but brilliant.

Melanie Laurent plays the young Jewish cinema owner, Shosanna Dreyfus. After her family was brutally murdered by Landa, Dreyfus goes into hiding in France and plots against the Nazis. Laurent’s character is brave and resourceful, but most importantly, manipulative in a fantastic way. She calculatingly flirts with a German war hero and movie star in order to lure Hitler and the most important Nazi leaders into her theatre where they are all to be burned alive.

Christophe Waltz single-handedly won me over while watching this film with his portrayal of Col. Hans Landa. Landa is downright evil and dementing, but yet so well mannered and proper that it creates so much irony in his character. Tarantino does extremely well to create the juxtaposing irony behind Landa, which is perfectly displayed in the opening scene where he treats the farmer and his family with the utmost respect, then orders the murder of the Jewish family in hiding.

Come the end of the movie, the viewer has sat through 2 hours of intense dialogue and occasional blitzkrieg to keep the bloodlust satisfied and it all culminates with the artistic representation of Hitler and his closest of leaders brutally shot and burned in a cinema. This climax is the climax of all climaxes.

Although the ending is sick and twisted, the viewer will walk away with satisfaction. The Nazis are the one group of people many in the Western World that almost everyone can say they hate, and so when the Nazis are killed in such a violent manner, the audience can silently cheer. But, Tarantino arguably makes the point that we as the audience are probably no better than the Nazis in this scene.

In that very scene, the Nazis cheer when a German sniper kills American soldiers in the cinema, but then they are all murdered and we as audience members would more than likely be rejoicing the Nazis’ deaths. The parallelism in the scene with the audience is real life is magical.

Ultimately, Tarantino blew me away with this film. For a film based on World War II, the film hardly focuses on the war, but the strained and edgy relationships between characters and I loved it. The film tests the film boundaries and just like every other Tarantino film, makes you think and walk away in awe.


Inglorious Basterds: Rant

Wil Fisackerly, Staff Writer

Inglourious Basterds is one of those movies that I should have watched long ago, but never put myself up to watching. I was excited to watch the film, especially given the rave reviews for it and my admiration for the work of Quentin Tarantino.

To my dismay, Inglorious Bastards proceeded to spend two and a half hours to display an unbelievable plot filled with minute details that drove home critical plots. There were instances in the movie where I was immensely confused, which required outside information for clarification.

In the movie, the main protagonist Shosanna eats a strudel with a known Jew-killing officer. She attempts to eat the strudel, but the officer tells her to wait until the cream arrives.

After research, I found out that it is considered not kosher to eat strudels with cream. Shosanna therefore, had to break her own faith in order to avoid detection. This would have been great to know while I was watching the movie.

At another part, the group of Allies were attempting to remain undercover. The main leader asked for three drinks, using his index through ring fingers. The camera focused in, and a firefight ensued. From this I assumed that it was not German to use those fingers, but the lack of confidence in my answer made me uneasy.

In short, Inglorious Bastards features a relatively good story with some laughs, but overall brings an edge of haphazardness to the viewer with its lack of explanation.