Inglourious Basterds (2009)

When you hear that Quentin Tarantino has directed a film, you probably already know what you are getting yourself into: a lot of little details, blood and gore, and a highly exciting twist-ending. Yes, the same director that brought the world Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill volumes does it once again with Inglourious Basterds (misspellings intended.)

The film is presented as a series of chapters which slowly (and I do mean slowly) build into a final moment where all of the film’s previous characters and stories intertwine together. In the first chapter, we are introduced to the film’s villain Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) as he interrogates a man suspected of hiding Jews. This is our first taste of the man who steals the screen for the remaining 5 chapters. Waltz, appearing in his first American film, plays a pompous, detective working for the Third Reich. After he discovers and executes the Jewish-family-in-hiding, we find that one of them has escaped only to reappear unharmed in Chapter 3. We learn that this young Jewish woman (Melanie Laurent) is running a movie theatre in German-occupied
France where she meets a German war hero, who also happens to be the star of a German film-within-a-film “Nation’s Pride.” He introduces her to the film’s director and they work out the details of having the film’s premiere at her theatre. Knowing that many of the head-honchos of the Third Reich will be in attendance, she begins plans to entrap them in the theatre and kill them all.

Unknowingly of her plans, in Chapter 2 of the film, we are introduced to the Basterds. This team of men lead by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) intend to enroll in the business of killing Nazis, and “business is boomin’!” The Basterds include a gang of men with an axe to grind against the Nazis, as most of them (if not all) are Jewish themselves. They learn of the premiere taking place, and scheme up a plan of their own to attend and end the life of many Nazis, including Hitler.

The most misleading thing about this film from the title and the advertisements is that this is a film about a group of men killing Nazis. Pitt and his Basterds make only a handful of appearances throughout the film’s 153 minutes. Only Chapter 2 focuses on their cruel tactics of murdering the killing the Nazi regime. But don’t let that affect your opinion if you’re looking for action. There is plenty of that coming from other characters in the film!

Another annoying point in this film however, is the subtitles. No, I’m not against the use of subtitles, although I’ve yet to figure out their use in this film. Half of the movie is in either German or French with a small yet laughable section being in Italian. But many times, the subtitles are written not in English, but in the actual language the character is speaking. For instance, many times when the character is saying “oui” or “merci” one might expect to see the word “yes” or “thank you” written in English across the bottom of the screen. However, for some reason we see “oui,” with the exception of a few times that it does actually say “yes.” It just seemed odd and out of place that there was no consistency within the use of subtitles.

All in all, the acting is spot-on from everyone, the direction is fantastic as always from Mr. Tarantino, and lovely dialogue that will keep you laughing and intrigued. I would definitely recommend this movie, but not to those with a weak stomach who dislike action flicks. You will be highly disappointed.

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