Top 365 Films – #204 – Inglorious Basterds (2009)


Top 365 Films - Inglorious BasterdsDIRECTED BY: Quentin Tarantino

STARRING: Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent, Daniel Brühl, Til Schweiger, August Diehl, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Omar Doom, Jacky Ido, B.J Novak, August Diehl, Denis Ménochet, Julie Dreyfus, Martin Wuttke, Sylvester Groth and Christoph Waltz

BUDGET: $75m

EARNED (Worldwide): $321.4m

AWARDS: 1 Oscar (Best Supporting Actor), 1 Golden Globe (Best Supporting Actor) and 1 BAFTA (Best Supporting Actor)

 

SYNOPSIS

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same.

 

Inglorious Basterds takes place in World War II during Nazi-occupied France where at the beginning of the film, a young Jewish refugee Shosanna witnesses the slaughter of her family by Colonel Hands Landa and his men. Narrowly escaping with her life, an opportunity arises to plot her revenge. Meanwhile a unit of Jewish guerrilla soldiers, led by Lt. Aldo Raine, are sent into Europe to kill Nazis and become so good at it, the Nazis refer to them as The Basterds and after hearing of an illustrious movie premiere will have every major Nazi offer in attendance, start to devise a plan to take them out.

 

Inglorious Basterds is Tarantino giving us an alternative ending (understatement) to what the history books tell us about World War II , an almost fantastical war film equipped with distracting monologues to cover the unpredictability of the violence that can unfold at any moment. It very much has a western feel to it with a World War II setting, the films opening scene setting the tone for what to expect during the course of the film, great dialogue building up to a violent conclusion and it’s mainly in the films longer scenes that provide the films strength in its payoffs, while some of the groundwork in between these scenes sometimes didn’t work for me. The three essential characters are Hans Landa, Aldo Raine and Shosanna before their arcs come together in full circle. Brad Pitt and his Basterd men don’t take up as much screentime as you make think and Pitt chews and spits out Tarantino’s dialogue with a Southern accent and being intimidating without firing a single shot, often at times is hilarious, none moreso than his attempt of speaking Italian (well, I found to be funny). I found Mélanie Laurent’s performance captivating playing an older Shosanna under her new identity Emmanuelle, who happens to attract the attention of a German sniper-turned-actor Frederick Zoller (played really well by Daniel Brühl), handles the streaks of innocent yet vengeful angles really well. Unquestionably no doubt, the films highlight belongs to Christoph Waltz, with a memorable performance as Hans Landa, a complexed character that is much more than your typical Nazi figure, a confident, cruel,  calculating yet seductively charming and funny, presence on screen that makes him unpredictable and impossible to take your eyes off him when he’s on screen. The supporting ensemble are also solid (From Brühl to Fassbender, from Kruger to Roth) and brought a return to form (in my view) for Tarantino after the Kill Bill films and Death Proof. I must say, damn good stuff that.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: Hicox and two of the Basterds have a rendezvous with Von Hammersmark but when they arrive in the basement of the tavern there is a group of German soldiers there. Once one of them has a conversation with Hicox and notices that his accent is ‘odd’, the tension racks up as an SS Major finds his accent odd also and decides to join them at their table.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘Oooh, that’s a bingo!’ – Hans Landa

DID YOU KNOW?: In a roundtable discussion with Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino said that Til Schweiger, being born and raised in Germany, had always refused to put on a Nazi uniform for a film role. The only reason he agreed to for this film was because he got to kill Nazis.

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