I’ll just come out and say it: Quentin Tarantino is THE MAN. He is hands down my favourite film-maker of all time. I just adore all of his films that he has written and directed. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, From Dusk till Dawn, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Death Proof, all are some of my favourite films of all time. I could write a whole article about how much I love Tarantino. But this isn’t am article about Tarantino. This is a review of his new film: Inglourious Basterds. Now I must apologize in advance: this review is going to contain some pretty big claims, such as Film of the Year, Bets War Film of the Decade, One of the Best War Films I have seen, Tarantino’s best film since Pulp Fiction, Best Ending This Year, Best Villain this Year and a plethora of some of the Best Film Moments of 2009. Now that’s out of the way, here’s my review.
The plot is trademark Tarantino; a group of characters whose tales are intertwined without so much realising it. Brad Pitt plays Lt. Aldo “The Apache” Raine, the leader of the notorious platoon, The Basterds: a group of Jewish-American soldiers who have one plan and one plan only: kill Nazis. The group includes “The Bear Jew” Donny Donowitz (modern horror maestro Eli Roth), Nazi turncoat Hugo Stiglitz (Til Schweiger) and Smithson Utivich (B.J Novak for The Office). Along with British Lt. Archie Hilcox (Michael Fassbender), General Ed Finch (Mike Myers) and German actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), they plot to take out all the major Nazis in one place at a the same time. However, a young Jewish girl named Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) is planning to do the same after seeing her family massacred by The Jew Hunter Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz).
First off, this is NOT a war film that you grew up with. This is no Great Escape, Saving Private Ryan or Longest Day. It does however have vibes of The Dirty Dozen and When Eagles Dare, running along those Men on a Mission scenario. The important thing to know about this film is not to go in thinking it’s going to be a very accurate war film, because if you do, you probably won’t stop complaining throughout. But if you don’t, you will love, love, LOVE this.
Tarantino shows why he is a master of film-making. What Tarantino does and does well is that he takes inspiration from his many influences and makes it his own original. Some people may not like it, but that’s what makes his movies great. As much as people may not like it, Death Proof was a brilliant love letter to the films he grew up with. Inglorious Basterds is part love letter but mostly its own thing.
The film is split into 5 chapters, all of which filled with incredible Tarantino written dialogue that I can listen to for days on end. The film is two and a half hours which makes every chapter 30 minutes more or less, but they all include and end with some brilliant, brilliant, brilliant scenes. One scene is the film’s equivalent to the diner scene of Reservoir Dogs while another is reminiscent of the end of Pulp Fiction. I would like to say what my favourite scenes are but there were too many to choose. The film is filled with Tarantino trademarks including the great song choices, long shots, the “Guest Starring” credits and of course, a shot of a woman’s bare feet.
Tarantino knows how to get performances out of his cast and this is no different. Christoph Waltz is in-freaking-credible in as the main villain. There is no question he is getting a Best Supporting Actor nod come Oscar Season. If he isn’t, the Academy must have lost their minds. He just commands the screen with an almost poetic nature; he actually makes you not just like, but LOVE a Nazi. He’s just so smooth talking and knowledgeable. In fact, Hans Landa is one of the best characters that Tarantino has ever created. Same goes for Aldo Raine, who is played terrifically by Pitt. He really disappears into the character with his lynch-marked neck and deep southern accent. This is the third film in a row with Brad Pitt where, along with Burn after Reading and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, he gives one of the best performances of his career.
The supporting cast is also fantastic. Melanie Laurent and Diane Kruger give the film the great female touch that it truly needs, Eli Roth is actually pretty good as Donnie “The Bear Jew”, again another classic Tarantino character, casting non-pretty boys like Novak and Schweiger is perfect as not only is Tarantino giving people who need a chance a chance, but it gives the group a touch a realism in the insane world he has created here. Michael Fassbender also disappears into his character brilliant and despite being in the film for 5 minutes, Mike Myers give his best performances since I think I married an Axe Murderer. Instead of being goofy and over the top as he usually is, he’s more restrained and is fantastic in this film.
Also, the soundtrack is just wonderful. Not only does it have brilliant Ennio Morricone tracks that give it a Western feel, but it also has some quite modern songs in. Forget Cat People, the film contains the best use of David Bowie’s Putting out Fire ever. Ever since seeing this film, I have gotten the soundtrack and been listening to it constantly.
I could go on and on and on about how much I love this film, so I’ll just end it here. This film is Awesome. Just awesome.. This is quite literally a no holds barred, anything goes, sharp-talking, incredible WWII film from the master himself. The dialogue brilliant, the scenes fantastic, the acting impeccable especially Christoph Waltz and his award-assuring performance, this could quite possibly be the best film Tarantino has done since Pulp Fiction and definitely THE war film of the decade. See it, see it, see it, you will NOT be disappointed.