Inglourious Basterds

Bloody Brilliant, 19 August 2009

Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A glorious return to form for maverick Director Qunetin Tarantino. It’s not perfect, but firmly puts him back in the A list of hot cinematic property.His vision for the whole film teeters on the preposterous occasionally, but always steps back from the brink. But the real strength of this film is what QT does best, brilliantly envisioned scenes, with superb dialogue. And that is what the film opens with. A scene as good, if not better, than anything he has ever realised before. The war time set piece of an SS Officer visiting a Partisan hiding Jews has been done many times before, with bear traps of clichĂ© waiting to spring at any moment. But in the hands of Tarantino’s marvellous, quirky script, strong Direction, and superb acting from Christophe Waltz as SS Colonel Hans Landa, we are treated to a cinematic tour de force.

Indeed Landa is the pivotal figure throughout.Measured, urbane and systematic, the exact opposite of Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine and his renegade crew of Nazi exterminators. A feature of the film is a core of actors giving fine, straight performances whilst the periphery deliver cameo and pastiche.

Although the trademark violence is gruesomely dished out another trademark is in evidence. Tarantino loves women. Check out the vertical ,moving overhead shot of Melanie Laurent as she strides along with her beautiful red dress flaring out as she walks as Jewess Shusanna, or Julie Dreyfus as Goebbels translator / Courtesan with killer clothes and heels, or the gorgeous Diane Kruger as German film star and double agent Bridget Von Hammersmark, the epitome of 40’s Movie Star chic. He has this gift for allowing women and scenes to exude sex, without being explicit. Think Thurman / Travolta in the “dancing competition” scene in Pulp Fiction, or Jackie Brown as Pam Grier sashays along in her smart, skirted Air Hostess uniform.

At two hours twenty minutes ,the action skips along with surprisingly little violence, but when it does feature, it is gruesome. The action sequences are as effective as those in Paul Verhoeven’s, “Black Book”, THE finest modern WW2 film to date. And although about killing Nazis, the most compelling character is SS officer Landa. Laurent and Kruger make the most of meaty roles which transcend the “Love interest” parts so typical of contemporary work.

Faults? The final knife wounding scene and explicit baseball bat murder were too extreme for my tastes. His decision to include caricatures of the German Top Brass, including Hitler,came close to verging on comedy sometimes. This quasi-comic quality was also present in the pompous puffed up English Officers but was also dished out to the “Inglorious Basterds” as a whole.

This is no “Americans as Heroes” picture. Subversively, Daniel Bruhl as enlisted marksman and Celebrated War Hero Frederick Zoller is given a far more rounded and sympathetic treatment.The judicious use of sub-titles gives proceedings a credibility so absent from,genre stablemate , “Valkyrie” with Brad Pitt easily trumping Tom Cruise in choice of roles, and film.

Easily one of the best releases of 2009, and worth seeing for the first 15 minutes alone.

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