A few weeks ago I wrote about how there were few things that influenced my youth as much as G.I Joe. There is another thing that heavily influenced my youth as well, old war movies, especially World War 2. (It seems war was a major factor in my youth regardless.) I was raised on these just as much as anything else. Every Saturday was Western/War and Kung Fu movie day on local television. I would sit riveted to the television while such greats as The Dirty Dozen, Midway, The Sands of Iwa Jima, Battle of the Bulge and scores of other war movies flashed across the television, burning their way into my imagination. It is with this backdrop in mind, and knowing that Quentin Tarantino is a sucker for these old genre flicks as well, that I was dying to see Inglourious Bastards.
Let’s just say I was not disappointed, and Quentin has now cemented his place as my favorite director. (I know this will mean a lot to him, it was formerly a tie between him and Wes Anderson.)
The plot presumably follows the exploits of Brad Pitt and his band of Nazi hating Jewish soldiers known as the Bastards, and Bastards they are. Essentially gorilla warfare specialist they are sent behind enemy lines to inflict fear and terror among the Nazi soldiers in occupied France. They do this by scalping their victims, beating them with baseball bats and killing anyone who gets into their way.
However the title is somewhat misleading as the plot is far more complex than we are led to believe. The Baserds only make up maybe half of the movie. The other half is composed of Shosanna – a young Jewish girl who runs a cinema in Paris, Col. Hans Landa -the ranking Nazi SS Colonel in the region (played by Christoph Waltz, arguably the best character in the movie), a young German sniper war hero-turned movie star, and a surprise assassination attempt on Adolph Hitler himself.
In typical Tarantino fashion, this movie is quite violent and filled with unexpected plot twists. Tarantino brandishes his flair for nostalgia as several scenes pay nice homage to the movies of the past (including one at the end that is right out of the Dirty Dozen) and much of the soundtrack is straight out of that era.
Quentin shows off his mastery off dialogue, creating long, intense scenes carried not by action but by the incredible dialogue between the characters. After watching this movie I wanted to cry because as long as I live, I will never be able to write that well. Quentin also works in his panache for making deep philosophical points out of seemingly insignificant, every day conversation items. (See squirrels vs. rats)
Another thing that amazed me was that he was not afraid to use the characters natural languages in this movie, complete with subtitles. Scenes would often bounce back and forth between English, German and French, all with a natural grace and ease that added an extremely high depth of reality to the movie.
Brad Pitts turns in another great performance as Lt. Aldo Raine, a tough as nails country boy from Tennessee, who leads the team of Basterds in their fight. His dialogue was both witty and pointy and it serves to show his expertise that Quinton had the audience laughing at some incredibly violent points.
Definitely not a movie for kids or the feint at heart, and maybe not for those who are sticklers for history, seeing as how the movie takes great liberties with the actual facts of the war. Otherwise this movie is brilliant and I highly recommend it. Honestly, I have racked my brain trying to think of any reason not to give five babbles and I can think of none.
So it is with much fan fare and accolade that I proudly give Inglourious Basterds whopping 5 Babbles.
P.S. I also like this film because it gives me a chance to use the word Basterd more, spelled the English way of course.