Inglourious Basterds Review
“What A Tremendously Hostile World That A Rat Must Endure. Yet Not Only Does He Survive, He Thrives. Because Our Little Foe Has An Instinct For Survival And Preservation Second To None... And That Monsieur Is What A Jew Shares With A Rat. ”
August 22nd, 2009
The opening scene of this film is one of the best I have seen in the history of cinema. Here is the scene: Opening shot is of a man chopping wood in his yard. The man is Perrier LaPadite, a French dairy farmer. He has a family of three daughters. He is suspected of hiding Jews under his floorboard. We see two cars coming to the farm, and these men appear to be Nazis. The car arrives and one of the four or five men is Colonel Hans Landa aka The Jew Hunter of the Waffen-SS. Land asks for a few words with LaPadite, alone. Hans interrogates LaPadite, which goes on for at least ten minutes. It is very suspenseful and intense. Landa manages to break down LaPadite, revealing that he is actually hiding Jews under his floorboard. The floorboard beneath them. Landa calls his men and orders them to fire into the floorboards. All of them are killed. Expect for Shosanna. Escaping from the floorboards, Lands spots the girl running for her life, and it seems he is getting ready to pull the trigger when (for some apparent reason) he puts his gun down. End of Chapter 1.
"This might be my masterpiece" is the last line questioned by Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. And this highly anticipated war film is truly his masterpiece. Tarantino's most devoted and creative film yet. It is everything you want it to be: violent, smart, satisfying, thrilling, intense, suspenseful, and most of all funny. Let me quote the great man "[It was] some of the best writing I've ever done" He viewed the script as his ultimate masterpiece in the making, so he felt it had to become the best thing he'd ever written. He really said this. It is true, it is the best thing he'd ever written. Maybe the best thing he'd ever directed. Ive read many reviews on this film, critics to tarantino nerds, and a lot of people say their is a similarity to The Dirty Dozen here. A US Army Major is assigned a dozen convicted murderers to train and lead them into a mass assassination mission of German officers in World War II. Well, it may seem it has a similar story to Basterds but no. It is nowhere near the same.
Inglourious Basterds has two main protagonists, Lieutenant Aldo Raine and Shosanna. Both seeking justice and revenge. Shosanna is seeking revenge for the death of her family. And Raine is seeking justice by killing Nazis in disturbing ways. We now see Shosanna in her twenties and is as the owner of a cinema. The cinema is chosen by Frederick Zoller, a spotlight-hungry sniper-turned-actor whose exploits are celebrated in the Nazi propaganda film, "Stolz der Nation" ("A Nation's Pride"), as the setting for the films premise. Perfect, she is thinking. Her cinema being held for the premiere of the Nazi film Stolz der Nation, means there will be a load of Germans there. Maybe even Hitler. What better time to plan a scheme of revenge. And what plan will be better than burning her own cinema to the ground with a bunch of hated, cold blooded, and worthless Nazis inside.
Lt. Aldo Raine is a fast talking, vengeance-driven hillbilly from Maynardville, Tennessee who puts together a team of eight Jewish-American soldiers, known as the Basterds. These basterds include: Staff Sergeant Donny Donowitz aka "The Bear Jew" or as I refer the huge golem bat swinging Nazi killing psychopath, Hugo Stiglitz another psychopath who is recruited by Aldo to kill Nazis. He is known as a Nazi serial killer. Who better for the job of a Basterd than him?, and PFC Smithson Utivich aka "The Little Man" the little man who only has like three lines. But he is in the last scene. Raine orders his men to bring him 100 Nazi scalps, I knew they would get him 100 Nazi scalps but I didn't expect to see them actually cutting off their scalps. It was nice smooth and best of all slow. So beware of what your getting into before you see this. You know, if you know Tarantino is directing it then what the fuck do you really expect a nice romantic and delightful family film.
The main antagonist of the film is the German officer I brought up in the opening scene. He is very complex and you do not know what to expect from Hans. He is intelligent and hilarious. A brilliant villain. He is a likable character even though a crazed killer at one. But quote from God again "this might be the greatest character Ive ever written." Tarantino also claims that if he had not found a perfect actor for the role, he "might have pulled the plug on the whole movie". The brilliant actor who plays this role is Christoph Waltz. Waltz gives the a career changing performance and he delivers one of the best Ive seen on screen. I really pray that he gets the Oscar for best supporting actor if he doesn't I will be pissed. Even more pissed if he doesn't get the nod. Brad Pitt "Aldo the Apache" gives another fantastic and hilarious performance. One of the best from him. Eli Roth who plays the Bear Jew is just plain awesome and fun to watch. He transforms his character into a true monster. And a raging psycho. He is great. Til Schweiger (Hugo) is also awesome. A very evil man he is also psycho. And Schweiger does it well. Mélanie Laurent and Diane Kruger both do fine jobs. Everyone in the cast is great. And lets not forget about Mike Myers and the narrative by Samuel L. Jackson.
Tarantino fans will certainly love this film but for others it is almost too hard to predict, depends on how much you really appreciate the art of cinema and directing. This is perhaps his best film. A violent dark and very funny one bringing out the best of him. And adding a mixture of genres which works perfectly and makes Basterds more entertaining. The result is glorious: the most audacious war movie ever made. Inglourious Basterds is unlike any film you will ever see, that is unrestrained, thoroughly entertaining and an experience that will provide one hundred percent satisfaction mainly for Tarantino freaks or movie lovers.
This is not part of my review. This is merely a character study of Colonel Hans Landa, The Jew Hunter; one of the greatest villains ever to be written, played by the wonderfully talented Christopher Waltz. I insist on writing actually more like breaking down the character of Hans Landa because of the fact that this Nazi is very complex and not fully understood. I would like to take my look at the character and describe what I think of him. Here we go. Colonel Hans Landa aka The Jew Hunter could be considered to be the main character in the film. He is in the very first scene and the very last. If you really break the film down you can see that Landa likely has the most time on screen than any other character in the film. I thought the Basterds would get the most screen time but they are only in it a little more than 50%. Back on subject, Landa is of course very complex. He seems to hide his killer instinct with charm and humor. Watch the film and you too will not be able to resist him. He is a brilliant villain. Tarantino meant to make Landa this way, he wanted to make a very complex character. He wants his fans to enjoy his charm and wit and forget about the monster that is hiding beneath him. The past behind Landa is not described in the film. Landa is speaking in three languages during his encounter with the French farmer during the opening scene. An ode the spaghetti western style. And I quote Landa "The feature that makes me such an effective hunter of the Jews is, as opposed to most German soldiers, I can think like a Jew, where they can only think like a German or, more precisely, a German soldier." Landa can be looked at from many different perspectives and no one may ever find the real reason behind this monster. All you can do is sit there in your seat and study, study, and study again. However, Landa will always go down in cinematic history as one of the greatest antagonists ever put on the big screen. And no one will ever forget the magnificent performance by Christopher Waltz. Who went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.