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Inglorious Poster

Film by Quentin Tarantino released August 21, 2009

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Mighty Literary for a Bloodbath!

  • Dec 28, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+5
I mean that as praise. This is an intelligent, witty, ingenious film disguised as sadistic slaughter. Nearly everybody gets killed eventually, except the two who most deserve killing: the German officer Hans Landa, played by Christoph Waltz, and the American (well... Johnny Reb at least) commando officer Aldo Raines, played by Brad Pitt. Meanwhile, Goebels gets killed, Bormann gets killed, Goering gets killed, Emil Jannings gets killed, why, even that nasty little man with the mustache gets killed, and by implication the War is over!

Now, in case anyone doesn't know -- and that's sadly possible, given the quality of education in the USA -- that wasn't what really happened. The War was NOT ended by an act of heroic, individual, suicidal terrorism. It was ended by bombing -- fire-bombing in Europe, A-bombs in Japan -- and by unbelievable soldierly courage on both the Eastern and Western fronts. So what's the point of 'contrafactual' history, even in a film? Well now, why don't you just munch on that question AFTER you've seen the film? What's peculiar and bold about Inglourious Basterds as 'contrafactual' history is that it's backwards. Usually such imagined history starts from a contrafactual premise and then explores the possible contingencies that would result; this film climaxes with the contrafactum, and a deliciously bloody one, with two Jewish American privates machine-gunning the entire Nazi high command and pumping slugs into that little mustached Schweinhund until he looks like my Grandaddy's liverwurst. Tarantino's whole point, I suspect, was to probe and upset the commitment to non-violence and pacifism of people like me. Hey, I'm the audience he had in mind. I so much wanted to join in the massacre! I was thrashing and growling on the sofa till my Swedish farmer uncles thought I was having a seizure.

In simpler terms, this film is about the ambiguity of being one of the Good Guys. Both Black and White turn out to be shades of gray.

By the way, Tarantino must have had me personally in mind when he scripted this film. The arch-villain Hans Landa spoke German, English, French, and Italian, and so do I. And he enunciated all of them with clarity; how often does that happen in a film today? Landa's multi-linguism might have made me sympathetic to him, except that he was the nastiest piece of work imaginable, a complete libertarian opportunist double-dealing sadist; even his eventual betrayal of his own foul cause wasn't enough to make me not want to see him masticated by rodents. Actor Christoph Waltz NEEDS some kind of Oscar for his performance; he dominated every scene in which he appeared. Hating Landa made the whole film worthwhile.

Lt. Aldo Raines, the American Nazi-killer, felt exactly the same hatred for Officer Landa. I won't disclose how effective his hatred might have been. Brad Pitt, playing Raines, isn't even a tenth the actor that Christoph Waltz is. If this movie has a weakness, it's Pitt. Face it, the guy can only play himself. He was perfect in "Babel" but he's funky as the 'Mike Fink/Davy Crockett' character Raines. His 'Hill Country' accent is awful. But then, there is a snarky kind of satire of Americans involved in this film; one of the major scenes is built on the inability of the American commandos to fake even a pizza-parlor Italian. A British officer chosen for a mission on the basis of his German fluency proves to have an obvious Brit accent. Language is a big part of this film...

...and that brings me to the "literary" quality I kept noticing in Inglourious Basterds. (The previous review by 'aceto' discusses IB in terms of its cinematic allusions. Don't miss that review!)
Item: it's presented in chapters, with chapter titles. That's not unimportant; the chapters really do have chapter structure, each of them a discreet narrative. Item: there are just the sort of "foreshadowings" that novelists, especially plot-driven 19th C novelists, employ. Landa, for instance, at the very beginning of the film, has an extended monologue about 'eagles and rats', in which he sardonically defends the nature of the rats; for the rest of the film, he seems more and more to embody precisely that rattish nature. Item: there are innumerable asides and allusions to other books, other films, other wars. Very few movie-goers would be expected to catch all that stuff. A novelist, by comparison, would expect the kind of reflective pace of reading that would allow an audience to capture such ambiguities. Tarantino demands a lot of you, friends! If you're watching this film just for the adrenalin rush, you're hardly watching it at all.

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More Inglourious Basterds reviews
review by . January 09, 2012
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review by . January 11, 2010
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review by . August 23, 2009
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poster
   Quentin Tarantino, taking inspiration from the 1978 Italian film “Inglorious Bastards“, “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS” (now renamed “Basterds”) is the latest installment from the acclaimed director. “Inglourious Basterds” isn’t just a war film, it is a war film with the Tarantino signature that features stupendous dialogue, incredibly opaque plotting, an anarchistic soundtrack (even worms in a David Bowie song from “Cat People“), …
review by . August 12, 2009
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Quick Tip by . January 04, 2012
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review by . August 25, 2009
Inglorious Basterds
Seeing Inglorious Basterds was an interesting viewing experience for me.  Not because anything crazy happened, but because of the ways in which the film kept pulling me back in.  While I thoroughly enjoyed Basterds, there were definitely times I was asking myself, "what is this leading up to?" which I think a lot of people were asking about Death Proof .  Of course the minute I asked myself this, everything came together and made me ecstatic about the current scene. …
review by . January 08, 2010
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You might think Tarantino glorifies violence, but I think that's just the way he expresses his ideas
   I am a huge QT fan so I went expecting a lot from this film. The movie is simply an experience and Tarantino immerses you into this world.   I honestly am very surprised that there are so many comments stating this is a bad movie and Tarantino trash. I understand not everyone loves QT but how can you not appreciate the writing and acting in this film. The film, as most of us know by now, is a WWII revenge saga that follows a small unit of Jewish-American soldiers as they wreak …
review by . May 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A MASTERPIECE
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Quick Tip by . April 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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Inglorious Bastards

Inglorious Bastards is a 2009 war film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.  It was released on August 21st 2009.  It stars Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger and Christopher Waltz.

"

Although Quentin Tarantino has cherished Enzo G. Castellari's 1978 "macaroni" war flickThe Inglorious Bastardsfor most of his film-geek life, his ownInglourious Basterdsis no remake. Instead, as hinted by the Tarantino-esque misspelling, this is a lunatic fantasia of WWII, a brazen re-imagining of both history and the behind-enemy-lines war film subgenre. There's a Dirty Not-Quite-Dozen of mostly Jewish commandos, led by a Tennessee good ol' boy named Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) who reckons each warrior owes him one hundred Nazi scalps--and he means that literally. Even as Raine's band strikes terror into the Nazi occupiers of France, a diabolically smart and self-assured German officer named Landa (Christoph Waltz) is busy validating his own legend as "The Jew Hunter." Along the way, he wipes out the rural family of a grave young girl (Melanie Laurent) who will reappear years later in Paris, dreaming of vengeance on an epic scale.

Now, this isn't one more big-screen comic book. As the masterly opening sequence reaffirms, Tarantino is a true filmmaker, with a deep respect for the integrity of screen space and the tension that can accumulate in contemplating two men seated at a table having a polite conversation. IB reunites QT with...

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Details

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: August 21st 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Quentin Tarantino
DVD Release Date: December 15, 2009
Runtime: 149 mins.
Studio: The Weinstein Company, Universal Pictures, Universal Studios
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