Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds

(2009)

A World War II 'western', described by verbose helmer Quentin Tarantino himself as "my Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare or Guns Of Navarone kind of thing", which centres on a gang of Jewish-American assassins tasked with mercilessly scalping Nazis and spreading fear through their ranks. They put together a plot to cause chaos at a Parisian screening of a German propaganda film. Meanwhile, a teenage girl who works at the movie theatre is hatching a revenge plan of her own.

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Flicks Review

Vintage Tarantino returns to the big screen and he’s brought all his trademark moves with him. His only standard technique conspicuous by its absence is a time-shifting narrative but he compensates with liberal doses of spectacularly sensationalized violence and joyously amoral humour.

Brad Pitt really thrives in the latter category. He’s an actor who’s always shone in comically caricatured roles and here he gets a lead role that plays to this strength. There’s really not a bad performance in the bunch, with hopefully the start of some crossover success for both Christoph Waltz and Michael Fassbender. None of the characters have much depth to them but are nonetheless entertaining as they ham it up in almost cartoon fashion.

Ultimately though, this is Tarantino’s film. As per normal, he drenches the story in cinematic references, going as far as to make film stock a key narrative device in the big finale. Admittedly, his famously self-absorbed side shines through at times, seemingly too attached to his script to prune the dead air from its two and half hour running time. Because of this, the big moments are sometimes just relief from stretches of tedium.

But Tarantino fans have no doubt already penciled in a viewing. If you aren’t daunted by mammoth running times, you should too.


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 25 ratings, 25 reviews
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BY MH5440 lister

I have no shame in saying that this is one of my favorite films of all time. No other film has kept me captivated on the edge of witty dialogue for that long, nor have I been entranced with such mesmerizing performances and carefully executed camera work. This satire speaks to you, makes you laugh, whimper, smile sadistically with joy or just be plain mesmerized. Standout are Christoph Waltz and Brad Pitt, who equally share comedic and serious moments in ways that I've never seen possible in... More the cinema. Waltz is a revelation and his SS officer will go down as one of the best villains in cinema history. Full of plot twists, Tarantino tropes, his trademark violence and pop culture reference, this is a film buffs dream and Tarantino has proved to us he can really change history.Hide


4 stars? Only because it's by the same director as PULP FICTION. That said - this is a wonderfully skewered take on the WW2 movie genre, seen through a Sergio Leone lens. If you've seen Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, then BASTERDS is a glorious homage. Don't expect a realistic historical document - it's a movie! Let down only by an overlong scene in which Mike (Austin Powers) Myers overacts (bad English accent!) - a scene that proves Tarantino could have easily cut 20 minutes and lost... More nothing of his originality, fun and verve.Hide


BY Mick28 lister

Funny and tense. Go figure!


BY Philip-Moore superstar

Now, Ive been to see this movie four times now. It just gets better with every viewing. Im at the point where I don't think I even need the sub-titles anymore. The acting of course is great, from Waltz in particular, but also I think a heartfelt and also a breakthrough performance from Melanie Laurent. I wouldnt be shocked if her name appears with waltz come oscar time. Of course the direction was fantastic, the plot great, never mind that hitler never really died in a theatre. The running time... More seems to fly by. I just can't enough about this film. This is quentin's best work since pulp fiction by a long way, up there with reservoir dogs and jackie brown. I just can't wait for the dvd now to come out in december.Hide


Erroneously portrayed by its trailer as simply an excessively violent and relatively mindless World War Two parody chronicling the fictional exploits of American Lieutenant Aldo Raine and his rag tag bunch of soldiers, at its heart, Inglourious Basterds is a tragic tale of revenge portrayed through the character of Shosanna Dreyfus, a young French Jew who is a witness and only survivor of the massacre of her family by German soldiers. This slaughter is featured in the utterly captivating... More opening chapter and is an act overseen by “The Jew Hunter”, Colonel Hans Landa of the SS, who is a wickedly shrewd jester and the film’s other lynchpin character.

Divided into 5 titled chapters, QT’s distinctive style is scattered throughout the film, with a number of his trademark devices exercised, gloriously defying regular filmmaking conventions, including a twice utilised narrator whose voice will be instantly recognizable to Tarantino fans. The dialogue employed within the movie is as brisk and adroit as ever, with scenes that serve to embellish its cadence. Playing with tension is another technique that Tarantino has relished in here, whereby a number of scenes are perpetuated through his ability to elongate the palpable anxiety running just beneath the surface of the character interactions. Customarily, everything in the picture is purposeful and highly detailed right down to the characters names, which are often in homage to Tarantino’s silver screen heroes.

As a proven expert at making use of great music for the creation of classic and enduring scenes, QT was again true to form with the inspired infusion of many action complementing pieces including most notably, David Bowie’s “Cat people (Putting out the fire)”, applied during a beautifully shot and skillfully crafted montage, which features our heroine Shosanna preparing for her final act and serves as the introduction to the final chapter of the film. Imbued with moral ambiguity in its unsettling triumph, this decisive act and culmination of Tarantino’s reimagining of history is a powerful sight to behold, and one which leaves a lasting impression on the viewer while metaphorically reading as a love letter to the power of cinema.

Unsurprisingly, in a cast fronted by Brad Pitt (as Lt. Aldo Raine), it is the other relatively unknown actors (to western audiences anyway) that are the veritable treat of the film, including the brilliant performances of Martin Wuttke as Hitler, Sylvester Groth as Joseph Goebbels, August Diehl as Major Hellstrom and Daniel Brühl as Fredrick Zoller. However, it is Christoph Waltz as Landa & and Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna who undoubtedly steal the show. One, as the wild and heartless, self-serving villain and the other as the anguished and soulful, self-sacrificing heroine, they adeptly embody the two characters on which the success of the film was ultimately dependent. It is undeniable that with Basterds, QT has again created a band of bold and original characters who are surely set to be endowed into the hallowed halls of the Tarantino cult cache forevermore.

Under the self-proclaimed guise of a “spaghetti western with WW2 iconography”, Tarantino has delivered both his most purely entertaining movie yet and an unforgettable film-going experience. But more importantly, with this film he was able to grant the Second World War a somewhat burlesque ending laced with the sense of poetic justice worthy of the carnage and madness that had preceded it. Some will call it self-indulgent and pretentious, however, it is well worth arguing that most art, and the best art is just that. Ultimately, Basterds was a daring filmic celebration made by a film lover for film lovers and anyone who holds claim to the title of ‘cinephile’ would be imprudent to miss this picture on the big screen.

(Take it from a life long film lover who has watched this 5 times on the big screen.)Hide


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The Press Reviews

88% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • In the first and the last 10 minutes there are glimpses of what Inglourious Basterds had the potential to be: It just makes the two hours in between even more of a disappointment. Full Review

  • With a confidence typical of its director, the last line of Inglourious Basterds is, "This might just be my masterpiece." While that may not be true, this is an often dazzling movie that sees QT back on exhilarating form. Full Review

  • The film is by no means terrible -- its two hours and 32 minutes running time races by -- but those things we think of as being Tarantino-esque, the long stretches of wickedly funny dialogue, the humor in the violence and outsized characters strutting across the screen, are largely missing. Full Review

  • “This ain’t your daddy’s WW2 flick,” reckons Tarantino. Too right: this exploitation epic is a unique beast that molests history, wrong-foots expectations and royally entertains. The movies’ coolest Basterd is back on his game. Full Review

  • A violent fairy tale, an increasingly entertaining fantasia in which the history of World War II is wildly reimagined so that the cinema can play the decisive role in destroying the Third Reich. Full Review

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