“INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS” (Brad Pitt, etc.)
Is ‘Inglourious Basterds’ the best movie of 2009 so far? Well, to quote a character from the film, “NEIN! NEIN! NEIN! NEIN! NEIN! NEIN! NEIN!”
Is it an entertaining ‘farce’? Oui.
Probably Brad Pitt’s most memorable performance on film; clearly a break out for Christoph Waltz & a surprisingly excellent performance by Diane Kruger (Who knew she could act?)
So why did it leave me with such a distasteful load of hokum in my mouth?
The ending just flat out sucks. You base a film on actual historic events & then you change history just to be ‘whimsical’, you’re a cheater in my book. Anyone who gave Tom Cruise crap for speaking ‘American’ in “Valkyrie” better not dare say anything positive about this film – At least the story of Valkyrie stuck to the truth!
The very final scene could have been left intact & I would have loved “Inglourious Basterds”, but what happens just prior to it is so absurd, it makes a farce of the farce and 'basterdizes' the whole movie. Now I know why QT misspelled the words in the title – Nothing about this story is ‘right’. Despite the fact that they start off by telling you events that everyone ‘should’ know to be true (Be you old enough to remember the actual events or spent any inkling of time studying a history book) Tarantino ‘invents’ this band of Jewish/Americans that call themselves the Basterds. You’ve probably seen clips of Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine ‘addressing’ his troops and demanding that each of them deliver 100 Nazi scalps, as well as The ‘Bear Jew’ that brings a baseball bat to ‘interrogations’ & the aforementioned ‘Hitler’ quote, “NEIN! NEIN! NEIN! NEIN! NEIN! NEIN! NEIN!”
My first warning to you is that there are subtitles galore; French, German, Italian & English are switched back & forth within the same scenes. There is a continuity problem so obvious in the opening scene that the director HAD to have done it on purpose (I refer to the movement of the glass of milk on the table) I’m sure he did it to let you know there’s nothing in this film that should be taken seriously. I guess you have to give QT originality points for presenting a ‘real life’ historical situation & re-writing history to please the huddled masses... perhaps the Basterds traveled back in time to correct that which had once gone wrong? THAT would have been more plausible to me because I wouldn’t have felt hoodwinked by the director for enjoying his film up until he went totally batsh*t with the ending!
The acting here is very impressive; the lone disappointment to me was the inclusion of Mike Myers playing a cheeky monkey of a British officer – it gave the film the feel of a SNL skit. That was yet another warning to not take anything that happens in this film seriously; Austin Powers playing a General?
But I don’t like being played for a fool & having the wool pulled over my eyes; if there had been a warning at the beginning of the film saying ‘The following events are based on conjecture of what ‘might’ have happened had there been an actual group of ‘Basterds’ on the loose in France during WWII’ I would have been able to sit back & enjoy the film more & gone along with the goofy ending.
As it was, I DID enjoy ‘IB’ despite the over-the-top violence (Which I expected, but doesn’t mean I liked seeing it) because it presented some interesting characters & situations.
Told in Chapters; the opening introduces the most fascinating character in the film – the scene stealing Christoph Waltz plays Nazi Colonel Hans Landa; nicknamed ‘The Jew Hunter’ by his countrymen because of his uncanny ability to ‘sniff out’ Jews in hiding.
As Landa interrogates a French dairy farmer in his home, the tension builds – similar to the coin flipping scene in ‘No Country For Old Men’ with Javier Bardem’s assassin, Anton & the old man at the gas station.
Chapter 2 introduces the ‘Basterds'.
Chapter 3 is the interrogation scene; both brutally violent & laugh out loud funny I’d have to call it the best scene in the film.
The following chapters tell the story of Joseph Goebbels’ plans to premiere his film about a Nazi sharpshooter that killed hundreds of Allied men from a turret. Goebbels, played by Sylvester Groth, comes across as being a bit fruity & so I didn’t buy him as the monster he was in real life (Another ‘wink, wink, this isn’t a true story’ clue from QT?)
Martin Wuttke plays Hitler as a hotheaded paranoid nimrod, which I believed for a brief while, but not as he sat chortling and clapping like a mentally challenged individual watching Goebbels’ film, “Nation’s Pride”.
Kruger plays actress Bridget von Hammersmark & almost steals the film from Pitt & Waltz with her amazing performance. I call it amazing because she has been nothing but eye candy in every movie I’ve seen her in.
The only major character I haven’t mentioned is Melanie Laurent’s; I omitted writing about her because to do so would give too much of the plot away. Although I had no problem with Laurent’s performance, I will let you know if you need to take a bathroom break during this 2 ½ hour film, do it while David Bowie’s “Cat People” is inexplicably playing under a scene where Laurent is applying make-up. Just don’t dawdle in the head; you won’t want to miss Lt. Raine’s first face to face meeting with Landa while pretending to be an Italian film director (because Aldo is the most affluent member of his squad at speaking Italian) But you will want to have an empty bladder prior to viewing the scene as it may cause you to wet yourself with laughter.
Yes, a very good film, & I’m sure when I view it again, I’ll be able to appreciate it more because I’ll know going in that it has absolutely nothing to do with HISTORY as we know it...