Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds - review by ZackRelease Date: August 21st, 2009

Click here foe the Inglourious Basterds Trailer.

In 1941 Nazi-Occupied France, Perrier LaPadite(Denis Menochet), a French dairy farmer, is approached by a group of Nazi soldiers under the leadership of Colonel Hans "The Jew Hunter" Landa(Christopher Waltz) of the Waffen-SS and SD. Landa's main job is to go to all the farms in France and find all the Jewish families there. Landa has heard rumors of LaPadite hiding Jewish people in his house. Landa asks for some milk from LaPadite's daughters and then proceeds to question LaPadite about the Jewish families. Through the interrogation, Landa is able to get LaPadite to reveal the whereabouts of the family, who is hiding under the floor of LaPadite's home. Landa orders his men into the house and tells them to shoot the floor to kill the Jews hiding under it. All of the family members die except for the teenage daughter Shoshanna Dreyfus(Melanie Laurent) who escapes into the fields.

Three years later, Shoshanna is the owner of a small movie theater in Paris, going under the alias of "Emmanuelle Mimuex". While changing the headline on her theater one night, Shoshanna is approached by Fredrick Zoller(Daniel Bruhl), a German marksman in the Third Reich. Shoshanna, hating every German soldier for what they did to her family three years ago, wants nothing to do with Zoller. Zoller takes the int that Shoshanna doesn't like him and leaves. The next day while in a restaurant, Shoshanna is again approached by Zoller, only this time, many German people are approaching him, giving him compliments and treating him like a celebrity. Zoller reveals that he single handedly killed hundreds of American soldiers in Italy, a feat which has been turned into a movie made by Joseph Goebbels(Sylvester Groth) and starring Zoller as himself.

After Shoshanna brushes him off for a second time, Zoller attempts to convince Goebbles to hold the Paris Premiere of his movie, entitled Stoltz der Nation, or A Nation's Pride, at Shoshanna's theater. Shoshanna is approached by some German soldiers who put her in a car and take her to a restaurant where she meets Goebbles and Zoller. While discussing the premier, Landa arrives, informing the tabel that he is head of security for the event. Shoshanna, remembering Landa as the man who killed her family, is terrified that he will remember her and attack her. After some convincing from Zoller, Gobbels agrees to have the premiere at her theater. Zoller and Goebbles depart, leaving Shoshanna and Landa at the table alone. Landa asks Shoshanna a few questions about her theater while they both have dessert. After Landa leaves, Shoshanna breaks down and cries at the table.

Off in the forests of France, eight American paratroopers from the Office of Strategic Services are working their way through the German ranks, killing any soldier they come across. Led by 1st Lieutenant Aldo Raine(Brad Pitt), known as "Aldo the Apache" to the Germans, the group is made up of all Jewish-American soldiers with one German soldier, Hugo Stiglitz(Til Schweiger). Stiglitz was a soldier in the German ranks who became disgusted with what the army had become and killed 13 Gestapo majors single handedly. Raine and his men have captured a platoon of German soldiers and are interrogating them. They have only left three of the soldiers alive including the commanding officer, having killed and scalped the rest of the soldiers. Raine knows about a group of German soldiers hiding in a particular region of France around an orchard. Raine wants to know their exact location, exactly how many there are and exactly what kinds of weapons they have. Raine asks the officer if he knows who he is and who is men are. The Officer reveals that he does know and then tells them some stories the German troops say about them.

The officer declines to tell Raine what he wants to know. From a tunnel behind Raine, the sound of a baseball bat is heard being beaten on the walls. Raine asks if the officer knows who is in the there. Raine tells him that it is Staff Sergeant Donny Donowitz(Eli Roth). The officer reveals that he has heard of Donny and that the Germans call him "The Bear Jew". Raine asks the officer if he knows what Donny's specialty is to which the officer says he beats people with a club. Raine clarifies telling the officer it is a baseball bat. He gives the officer one more chance telling him he is going to get killed if he doesn't tell hiom what he wnats to know. Again the officer declines at which point Donny comes out and bashes in the head of the officer, killing him. The other two soldiers, who were being held at gunpoint, became terrified as soon as they heard Donny coming. One soldier got up and ran for it being instantly shot down by one of the Basterds. Raine orders his man to bring the last remaining soldier to him alive. The terrified soldier is given the same opportunity as the officer and immediately reveals everything that Raine wants to know. Raine then carves a swastika in the soldiers head so that everybody will forever know what he did.

Back in her theater, Shoshanna and her projectionist boyfriend Marcel(Jacky Ido) hear that Hitler himself, along with many of his top officials will be attending the premiere. Shoshanna and Marcel devise a plan to burn down the theater and everybody in it, essentially killing Hitler, his officers, and any other German attending. The British army has also heard of Hitler's plans on attending the premier. General Ed Fenech(Mike Myers) dispatches British officer and former movie critic Lt. Archie Hicox(Michael Fassbender) to Paris to go undercover as a German movie critic and to meet with the Basterds so they can devise a plan to take out Hitler. The group meets with a German double agent, Bridget von Hammersmark(Diane Kruger) a famous German actress. Hammersmark arranges to meet Hicox and the Basterds in the basement of a French tavern much to the dismay of Raine who believes it is the worst possible spot. During the meeting, a group of German soldiers are in the tavern celebrating the birth of one of the soldier's son. The intoxicated soldiers realize that Hicox's accent is off putting but Hicox plays his rank card and gets them to quiet down until a suspicious SS officer(August Diehl) joins the groups table. The officer becomes aware of the deception when Hicox orders three drinks, holding up his index finger, middle finger and ring finger in stead of using his thumb, index and middle finger as the Germans do it. The only people in the basement are the bartender and his waitress along with Hammersmark, Hicox, Stiglitz and another Basterd as well as the German soldiers and officer. A firefight breaks out killing every single person in the basement except for Hammersmark, who has been shot in the leg, and the soldier who just had the son. A Mexican standoff takes place between Raine and the soldier. The two make a deal where Raine and one of his men will come down unarmed to get Hammersmark and the soldier can go home to his son. As the soldier begins to leave, Hammersmark shoots him several times in the back killing him.

Raine takes Hammersmark to the animal doctor who is attempting to get the bullet out of her leg. Raine halts the procedure and puts his finger on the wound demanding that Hammersmark tell him what the plan was. She tells him that Hicox was to escort her to the premier as a director and the other two soldiers were to be a cameraman and his assistant. Raine agrees to go with that plan but decides to change it to them being Italian men instead of German on account that none of them can speak German. Raine takes Donny and Private First Class Omar Ulmer(Omar Doom) with him to infiltrate the theater. In the meantime, Landa arrives at the bar and begins to investigate. He finds a woman's shoe, belonging to Hammersmark and a note she wrote to the soldier for his son. At the premiere, Landa questions Hammersmark in his office and pulls out her shoe, which fits perfectly on her foot. Landa then lunges across at Hammersmark and strangles her to death. He then orders the arrest of Raine and also captures Private First Class Smithson Utivich(B.J. Novak).

While watching the premiere of the film, Zoller dismisses himself, not wishing to relive the scene where he killed everybody. Zoller goes up to the projectionists room to meet with Shoshanna who lets him in being unable to get him to leave. When she dismisses his advances again, Zoller becomes angry at which point Shoshanna shoots him several times. Felling pity for him Shoshanna goes over to his body at which point the barely alive soldier shoots Shoshanna top death before succumbing to his own wounds. Donny finds out where Hitler is sitting and him and Omar go up there in hopes of killing Hitler. While the two Basterds make there way up to Hitler's opera box, an edited version of the film appears with Shoshanna's face on it telling everybody that she is a Jew and that they are all going to die. Marcel sets a large pile of nitrate film on fire which quickly begins to engulf the theater. Donny and Omar bust into Hitler's box and obliterate him and Gobbels and then proceed to randomly fire into the crowd who is stuck behind the doors that Marcel had locked. As the fire burns and Donny and Omar continue to fire on the crowd, the dynamite placed by the Basterds explodes killing everybody inside the theater.

Back at his headquarters, Landa interrogates Raine and Utivich. He gets on the phone with Raine's superior officer and says that he will let the German leaders die, ending the war as long as he is not punished for his war crimes, him and the Basterds all receive the Medal of Honor and he gets a big house on Nantucket Island. Raine's superior agrees and Landa takes Raine and Utivich to the border of the American occupation where he relinquishes his gun and dagger in a symbol of surrender. Raine then handcuffs Landa saying he likes the theatrics and then kills Landa's driver. Landa is shocked, thinking Raine is going back on the deal. Raine says that the worst thing that is going to happen is that he will get chewed out, and he's been chewed out before. Raine then carves a deep swastika into Landa's forehead declaring that it just may be his masterpiece.

Quentin Tarantino is by far one of the most eccentric and different directors in modern film making. His movies have a tendency to be shocking, violent and nothing like anything you have ever seen and Inglourious Basterds is no different. Tarantino has become a widely known name for his movies like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill: Vol 1, and Kill Bill: Vol 2 but Inglourious Basterds proves to be his best work yet. This film comes with a style only Tarantino can deliver.

There are pros and cons to every movie so let us start with the pros. Brad Pitt was amazing as the revengeful backwoods Lieutenant. He seemed to really have fun and creativity with his character which is one of the mos important things to do when developing a role. I was surprised at how good Eli Roth did as his character. Roth is known as a director more than he is an actor. But Roth also shares a same twisted sort of view as Tarantino which made him perfectly cast for this film. Out of all the Basterds, those two were the only ones with main speaking parts, but the supporting Basterds all did fantastic in their roles as well. One of the greatest performances in the film goes to Christopher Waltz and his portrayal of Hans Landa. His character was written to be a creepy, sadistic, Jew hunting soldier and Waltz does an incredible job of actually making you be afraid of him. The two main female roles of Shoshanna and Hammersmark played by Melanie Laurent and Diane Kruger, respectively, were also done especially well.

This movie has a strong emphasis on action and Tarantino has always tried to make the fights and deaths in his films appear as real as possible. The action in this film is definitely brutal and gory. It is so realistic at times that it almost makes you want to turn away. But this is where the cons take over. The trailers for this film make it out to be all about Brad Pitt and his men going around killing Nazis. But that is only a very minor part of the film. The trailers also make it out to be a big action movie which isn't entirely the case either. The plot of this movie mainly focuses on the killing of Hitler and his men in the theater which is seen through the perception of Brad Pitt's character and Diane Kruger's character. Also, there is entirely too much talking in this movie. Watching the trailer makes you think there is going to be deaths and firefights and action out the wazoo but all of it is extremely slowed down by three or four very long scenes. In this film, where you think a normal scene would end, Tarantino adds on another 10 to 15 minutes of dialogue. Now some of these long scenes are not too bad. For example, the opening scene is one of these particularly long ones. However, it is portrayed in a way that leaves you in nervous suspense the entire time. The whole scene you are cringing, waiting for something bad to happen. I think this was Tarantino's goal with all of the long scenes but really only the first one accomplishes its goal.

Aside from the long and drawn out scenes, a large majority of the movie is spoken in either French or German giving you many subtitles to read. Granted it adds to the realism of the situation but it gets distracting when you are trying to watch a particularly interesting or important scene but you are distracted by subtitles. This makes watching the film sort of boring at points when all you are doing is watching subtitles.

The trailers will bring a crowd into the movie with them expecting to see a funny and action packed World War II movie but they will not get exactly what they were expecting. But I must give credit where credit is due. This is definitely Tranatino's best film to date. Although some of the scenes were way too long and half of the movie was in subtitles, that doesn't dismiss the fact that this film is unique, extremely well made, and extremely well acted. While the movie may have been better if Tarantino had just focused on Brad Pitt and his men killing Nazi's, the plot line that did take place was one that will not be easily forgotten. Definitely one of the best films of the summer and maybe even the whole year. If you haven't seen it yet then get off of your butt and go see it. I give Inglourious Basterds 9 Nazi Scalps out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. Hilarious movie. Its a great movie that delivers absolute fun. The entire script was written in order to entertain the audience but some people didn't find it worth to watch. I suggest everyone to give this movie a try.
    Inglourious Basterds Movie