Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review: Inglorious Basterds

Grade: C-

Inglorious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino's latest movie to hit theaters. It takes place in Nazi-occupied France in 1944 towards the end of World War Two. It is mostly about a group of Jewish-American soldiers who call themselves "the Basterds" who are in Nazi-occupied France to strike fear into the Third Reich. How do they do this, by brutally killing and scalping Nazi soldiers. The movie also tells a story about a young woman who escapes bring killed by the Nazis and a couple years later is living in France under a new identity and is running a movie theater. Through some interesting circumstances the Nazis decide to hold a movie premier at her cinema. The Basterds are simultaneously assigned to attack and bomb the same movie premier as it will have all the key members of the Third Reich in attendance as well as Hitler himself.

Quentin Tarantino seems to be trying too hard, again, to be cool. The trailer for this movie gave me some hope. I thought that the movie would mostly focus on Brad Pitt's character and his basterds, but they're kind of secondary in this movie. It seems that the majority of the movie focuses around the character of Shosanna Dreyfus who had escaped being killed by the Nazis and is now running a cinema in France. On top of that he takes too long to get to the point and then there is this long, almost endless buildup to the climax at the theater and then it's over in a flash. Tarantinto, again, fills the movie with kind of random and, at times, almost useless dialogue. The movie started to lose my interest at a couple points because of it. He also decided to kill off some of the better characters pretty quickly. The movie did, however, look great, I will give Tarantino that, he knows how to make a movie look good. Also, I liked the fact that for once, somebody made a WWII movie that completely disregards history, that made it a little more enjoyable.

Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading, Ocean's trilogy) was great as Tennessee born and raised Lt. Aldo Raine. This is one of the best characters that Tarantino has written, which is why I was upset that he's only on screen for probably 20-25 of the 152 minute run time. Brad Pitt played this character perfectly and he really helped make the movie, again, despite the fact that the movie doesn't focus on him like the title, posters and trailers imply. Eli Roth (Director of Hostel) plays Sgt. Donny Donowitz, another brilliant character we don't see enough of. Diane Kruger (National Treasure, Troy) plays a German actress by the name of Bridget von Hammersmark, who is helping the Basterds. She did a great job with this role. French actress Melanie Laurent plays Shosanna Dreyfus, the main focus of the movie. As I mentioned, Shosanna escaped being killed and the man who killed the rest of her family is the one asking to have the movie premier at her cinema. She is an amazing actress who shows great promise after this movie. German actor Christopher Waltz played Nazi Col. Hans Landa. He was great and quite hilarious in this movie. The movie also stars some great people such as Til Schweiger, B.J. Novak, Mike Myers, Julie Dreyfus, Sam Levine, Paul Rust and is partially narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

This movie is pretty violent and has a lot of language so if your really squeamish, be warned, you do see them scalping some of the Nazis. This movie wasn't bad and if it looks interesting to you go see it, but I can only really recommend this movie to fans of Tarantino's work. If you like the rest of his movies, you will like this movie. If you don't really care for his work, you will be let down.

Great quote: "Quite frankly, watching Donny beat Nazis to death is the closet we ever get to going to the movies."

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