Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Action Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, “Inglorious Basterds [sic]”, is set in a Nazi-occupied France during World War Two.  Starring Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, and Christoph Waltz, this film is a wildly violent account of the German occupation and those who opposed it.  The violence and witty dialogue are characteristic of Tarantino’s films, sure to please any fans of “Kill Bill”, “Pulp Fiction”, or the Grindhouse films.  The cinematography is, as expected, fantastic. This film is not only entertaining; it is also a successful work of art.

The story begins with the introduction of Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz), a German known as the “Jew Hunter” with a knack for thinking like a Jew instead of thinking like a German. He opens the film by searching for a Jewish family hiding in French dairy country and massacring all but the beautiful daughter Shosannah (Laurent). She manages to escape to Paris, where she assumes the identity of a young cinema owner. When the opportunity arises to host the opening of a Nazi-hero film, Shosannah plots to burn the cinema to the ground, killing all the Germans inside.

Simultaneously, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Pitt) has assembled a group of Americans to hunt down Nazis.  Known as the Basterds, this brigade consists of Americans and Jewish-Americans who return to Germany to spread fear and destroy the Nazis.  They travel through France scalping Germans and branding those they let go. When they discover the approaching film debut, they too plot to kill those inside.

Tarantino’s films are hard to endure for many audience members.  They are very violent, with brutality and bloodshed coming without warning. The dialogue is witty and the accents are well-played and entertaining.  With a mix of experienced actors and new faces, “Inglorious Basterds” has both the feel of a high-budget film and an independent project.  This is typical of Tarantino’s films, and it is this that makes his films so successful. Frequently viewers laugh at a comment or a situation, only to feel uncomfortable that they did so.

The cinematography is what brings me to a Quentin Tarantino film again and again. His camera work is unlike any other director.  The violence in his films is not just inserted for the sake of an R rating: it is artistically planned out, acted, filmed, and edited.  The scenes are set intentionally, with every detail imperative to the scene.  Focusing the camera on the slicing of food, the smoking of a cigarette, or the tapping of fingers instead of on the entire scene keeps the audience on edge, highlighting subtleties that would be lost in a larger scene.

This film is difficult to watch.  It has a lot of graphic violence that cannot be missed by turning your head.  Despite this, it is a film that everyone should see.  It is very well made, well thought-out, and worth every penny.  See it in theaters, as much of the effect will be lost on a smaller screen.  I will never claim to enjoy a Tarantino film, but I respect him as a director more than almost any other and appreciate his films as important works of art from the 21st century.

1 thought on “Inglorious Basterds (2009)”

  1. I’ll give Tarantino credit for being more creative and edgy in his movies than other so-called directors, but to me, calling his work art is a strech. Yes, he does have artistic elements present in his movies, but really his films lack the depth and importance to be considered great classic cinematic pieces of art. No where is this more clear than the fact that Inglorious Basterds ends up meaning something at all by pure coincidence. (Tarantino’s decisions to develop some characters over others creates the theme that forgotten people can make a difference). Tarantino doesn’t care about the struggle of the Jews, how many innocent people died, or the war from the German perspective…he just cares about making it “cool”. Apparently “cool” is the new “good”. For directors who create cinematic art, look at David Fincher or at the extreme Daren Aronofsky. I do give props for the excellent acting in Inglorious Basterds and your well written review. Well done!

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