Cert: 18 Runtime: 153 mins Director: Quentin Tarantino Cast: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Mélanie Laurent, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Til Schweiger, Daniel Brühl and Christoph Waltz
You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business; we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin’
So of all the Tarantino movie this literally is my favourite, with a History degree in my pocket I literally loved Basterds. Tarantino has re-written the history books and has created one of the greatest pieces of cinema that I have come across. It’s WWII, the battleground, Nazi-occupied France. The Nazis are doing whatever they need to to flush out and exterminate Jews, the most proficient and prolific of the Jew hunters being the sadistic SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). As such, the American military forms a unit, led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and comprised of eight Jews, to kill as many Nazis as possible. Raine requests each of his men to bring him the scalp of at least 100 Nazis apiece. He has his own method of ensuring that those Nazis he does allow or need to let go free are scarred for life. In Paris in 1944, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi’s chief propaganda master and filmmaker, plans to debut his latest film, “Nation’s Pride”. The film, based on the victorious military exploits of Private Fredrick Zoller(Daniel Brühl) , stars Zoller as himself. Because of his attraction to its pretty proprietress Emmanuelle Mimieux (Mélanie Laurent) , Zoller convinces Goebbels and the Nazi brass to hold the premiere at Mimieux’s cinema. Landa is to act as chief of security for the event. When the Americans get wind of the screening and the fact that most of the Nazi highers-up will be in attendance, Raine’s team is tasked with blowing up the cinema during the screening. They are assisted by renowned German actress, Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), who has been working as a spy for the British. They believe luck is on their side when they learn that Hitler himself is scheduled to attend. Beyond being found out, Raine’s team face two as of yet unknown issues. The first is Mimieux, who is really Shoshanna Dreyfus, a Jew who saw her family brutally murdered by Landa four years earlier, and who may have her own plans for Landa and the Nazis. The second is Landa, who beyond his up front mission, has another more personal mission for his life post-war unknown to anyone but himself.
Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds gives a hypnotically delusive recount of the Third Reich’s reign over France and, more specifically, its ugly downfall. Presented in two completely different yet somewhat augmented plots, the film has the benefit of retaining enough Tarantino traits to entice his followers, and enough new-school camaraderie to keep things cutting-edge. There are moments of violent terror, whilst others play on sly staging gags, making this the director’s most accessible film to date.Time after time, Tarantino manages to up his game. More than any other director he captures the desires of modern audiences in a way that is still breathtakingly pleasant, instead of condescending. Perhaps he is not the best (I’m a believer of the church of Paul Thomas Anderson, foremost), but this man is certainly the most exquisite; what’s better than action, composition, editing, camera movement and a machine-gun spray of killer dialogue if you want to go medieval on Nazi ass?The film is divided into five chapters. I’m not going to be arid and go through each of them, but I will say the first (“Once Upon a Time in Nazi-occupied France”) is the most brutal. Nodding to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, it has the unbearable tension of watching Nazi colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) interrogate a dairy farmer about Jews hiding in the area. It’s a game of cat and mouse. Waltz is a wonder. His dazzling, diabolical performance blends seductive charm and monstrous malice (in four languages). Escaping is one Jewish girl, Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), who flees to Paris and runs a theatre that will figure in a plot to ensure no more springtimes for Hitler. Playing the angry, end-of-the-Nazi-command plot deviser, Mélanie Laurent is outstanding.Next up are the Basterds, the Jewish commandos led by Pitt’s Tennessee-born Lt. Aldo Raine. After sneaking into France dressed as civilians to take down the Reich, the Basterds team with British soldier Archie Hicox (the suave Michael Fassbender), a film critic assigned by a British general.
This brilliant joke asserts the fuel Basterds is run on; alternate history with a hint of World War II movie mush. Aiding the group is German movie star Bridget Von Hammersmark (achtung for Diane Kruger), now spying for the Allies. The two revenge plots converge at Shosanna’s theatre, which will premiere a propaganda film, Nation’s Pride, and boast a red carpet walked by the Gestapo elite and the man himself, Herr Hitler (Martin Wuttke).Those in a rush will object to the time allotted to the tavern sequence (a sort of mini-Reservoir Dogs, only better) in which Bridget and the Basterds try to fake out the Nazis in a verbal duel that escalates into a shootout. But Tarantino gives his heart fully to this scene; its hair-trigger suspense tied to something as small and telling as an accent.The crew, led by Tarantino, utilises its many years of avid of film-watching perfectly, taking much from the low-key treasures that inspired Tarantino into his, um, career choice. It can be easy to mistake these filmic technicalities as being of a defiant originality, when they are in actual fact not. I did not find this borrower’s trait aggravating to watch; I enjoyed it. It shows a maturity we’re not used to in these kinds of movies, which in-turn shows a maturity in Tarantino. In the spectacular climax at the premiere, which Landa oversees like a chess master who’s finally met his match, Tarantino rewrites history with the only authority he has: his sovereignty as a filmmaker. Basterds polarized audiences. But for anyone professing true movie love, there’s no resisting it. Quentin Tarantino has made his best movie since Pulp Fiction.