Inglourious Basterds [2009] – Hall of Fame

27 07 2011

Tarantino movies are always about criminal acts gone wrong. In most of his movies,his characters always seem to plot some really ingenious plan,which topple like dominos when some minor flaw gets exposed and this failure of plans and the subsequent commotion is what drives Tarantino’s plot forward. Inglourious Basterds also follows the same technique so does Pulp fiction and Reservoir dogs. But neither Pulp Fiction nor Reservoir dogs has impressed me and consider both overrated. In short I never really was a fan of Tarantino works,But this movie is definitely an eye opener!

The Basement Bar Scene

The Movie opens with a Jewish girl,Shosanna who escapes from the slaughter of her family by the SS Colonel Hans Landa,who is better known by his nick name, The Jew Hunter. A few years later, in German-occupied Paris, Shosanna  has the opportunity to burn down the Film theater where the Nazi propaganda film’s première is held. The real catch of the situation is that the première is attended by the Nazi élite which includes the Führer .  Shosanna’s avenge plot is only one of the three threads that are crisscrossed  in this movie.  While the girl fine tunes her plan to perfection, Lt. Aldo Raine [Brad Pitt],puts together a special Jewish-American force who are trained trained solely for one business and that is the Nah-tzee  killing business. The all-Jewish killing squad includes Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth), aka “the Bear Jew”, who beats Nazis to pulp with his baseball bat, Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger), a former soldier in the German army, who holds an impressive record in killing German officers, and other six American Jews who are in this “booming business”. The third thread in the plot includes Winston Churchill conspiring to join the The Basterds in their mission by sending a commando who in his civilian life works as a movie critic with his specialty being German cinema!With a German actress-turned-Allied-spy (Diane Kruger) on their side, the British devises this “ingenious” Operation Kino, which is aimed at wiping out the SS high command. And when this plan is set into motion,the acts gets wrong completely and rest you can watch it in the screen.

Melanie Laurent - Shosanna

The ensemble cast which mainly consisting of American and German actors are one of the main highlights of the movie. And the highlight among the highlights is the Austrian born Christoph Waltz.The extent of success of this actor can be known from writer’s own words,as Tarantino has once said he feared that he wrote a part that was unplayable! Col. Hans Landa‘s[Christoph Waltz as the The Jew Hunter] character throws in a lot of “coin toss” scenes [No country for old men] which generates a lot of tension thanks to Brilliant portrayal by Waltz and superb writing from the maker himself. Every time Hans Landa enters the screen,the scene gets electrified and makes the audience uneasy. Mélanie Laurent does justice to her character by limiting herself into what her character demands,In short she doesn’t over do it. But in turn, both Brad Pitt and Eli Roth over do it,only because the larger than life characters demand it !Diane Kruger may have done the best role in her career with Bridget von Hammersmark.

The Coin toss scene in Inglourious Basterds

The movie is completely over the top when it comes to the plot,visualisation and the characters,actually no surprise there considering its a Tarantino film.The plot really is blown up,far from what history books says but still the movie is pure fun at its best!It seems that Quentin Tarantino made this movie to celebrate the phenomenon of cinema.Cinema acts like a silent but expressive character through out the movie.Brad Pitt’s mannerism closely resemble to the legendary Marlon Brando. We see Hitler laughing like he was nuts[Should I really use the word “like”?] when he sees Allied soldiers being killed by a German soldier and how Hitler sees cinema as an important medium. We also see how Nazis viewed cinema seriously and usage of it to spread Nazi ideologies and antisemitism. The character Lt. Archie Hicox, played by Michael Fassbender is actually a movie critic with exceptional knowledge in Nazi Cinema whose knowledge plays a crucial role in Operation Kin’s success. Then there is Bridget von Hammersmark,a German Actress who doubles up as a british spy,the femme fatale in this movie.There seems to a lot of other cinema references in this movie but it would be punitive to load up the entire page with it.But i would like to add one more and the best comes last.I still don’t know if Tarantino meant to do this but still…Perrier LaPadite,the French dairy farmer played by Denis Menochet has a striking resemblance to Stanley Kubrick!  But interestingly Hans Landa is the one who does the Kubrick stare.

Brad Pitt-Marlon Brando;Kubrick-Menochet

When Inglourious Basterds moves towards its end credits, a character says something like “I think this just might be my masterpiece”. As soon as I heard it,I suspected that Tarantino placed that dialogue with an ulterior motive.And when i checked Wikipedia,my suspicions were laid to rest when I learnt that he consider this movie or screenplay to be precise,to be the greatest work he has ever done.As a viewer I have to agree that this is his best work till date.For me it even qualifies to be termed as a modern-day classic!

P.S-The movie’s title is a tricky one.Every time I type the movie’s name,the spelling and grammar thing on my blog platform corrects me!Even though Tarantino refuses to explain why he made this “supposed” typo,the rumor going around the internet is that it was used to distinguish itself from the Italian war movie “Inglorious Bastards”.

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