'Inglorious Basterds' Review

Updated on August 5, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

Quentin Tarantino is a freaking wizard. I swear, that man can do anything he wants and he can sell anything he wants and I will happily and eagerly buy it, eat it, and relive it over and over again. Now, what makes me say this? Two reasons:

  1. He’s only made 9 movies in his life and has created an unforgettable, impacting career as one of Hollywood’s greatest directors of all time.
  2. He can make even the most boring and insufferably dreadful of movie genres seem interesting to me.

The two movie genres I avoid like the plague these days are westerns and war movies, both of which Tarantino has tackled with “The Hateful Eight”, “Django Unchained” and the movie I am reviewing today: “Inglorious Basterds.”

Tarantino is talented enough so that he can make something as boring and unengaging as a war movie and turn it into an excellent piece of cinematic art that is absolutely worth every extensive minute.

Loosely remaking the 1978 movie “Inglorious Bastards”, “Basterds” takes place in German-occupied France, where a young Jewish girl Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) narrowly escapes her family’s execution from the cruel Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). She plans her revenge by arranging a movie premiere for all the high ranking Nazi officials, including Adolf Hitler.

This catches the attention of the “Basterds”, a Jewish-American gurreilla soldier squad led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) who plans to make full use of this gathering to change the course of the war and end the Nazi regime once and for all.

“Basterds” is a slick, lengthy amalgamation of the most gruesome aspects of the Nazi’s extermination of the Jews; mixed in with a dark sense of violent humor that surprisingly comes together under Tarantino’s expertise filmmaking and grandiose dialog. Sure, his monologue spewing characters drag out each scene for what feels like an eternity, but every line and explanation is absolutely necessary and adds so much to each character and component of the film’s narrative.

It’s a cross of two different stories that both lead to the same final outcome: the bloody, brutal destruction of Hitler, Landa and every other German unfortunate enough to cross bullets and blades with the “Basterds.” Sometimes things go slow and seem purely dependent on conversations, but in a flash, things get murderous and before you know it, it’s all about carnage and Tarantino’s trademark gore fest.

Along with his unique editing, directing, writing and narrative structure, Tarantino has assembled a truly unique set of actors. From obvious headliner choices like Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Diane Krueger, to the delightfully peculiar inclusion of Mike Myers, BJ Novak and Eli Roth; Tarantino knows how to put on a damn good show with a damn good cast.

But one cannot even mention this film’s title without bringing up the most obvious and noteworthy scene stealer of the film: Christoph Waltz. A new classic movie villain is born thanks to Waltz’s portrayal of the despicable SS officer who slaughters people mercilessly one second, and smiles and laughs like a Cheshire cat the next. He is the defacto star and the one individual that everyone remembers and discusses when this movie comes up in any kind of conversation.

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The movie’s rapid shift of quick and fast tones may not work for everyone’s cinematic taste buds, and swirling in dark war trauma with an even darker sense of humor is a hard trick to pull off at times. But Tarantino is a legend for a reason and he manages to exceed every expectation or concern I had when I first saw this movie.

The fact I paid to see this in theaters, bought it on Blu-ray and watch it whenever I got 3 hours to kill is a testament to how good he is because it if was any other war movie by almost anyone else; I wouldn’t be anywhere near as hooked. “Inglorious Basterds” is an odd gem of brilliant casting, stellar writing and one of the most incredibly well rounded combinations of war, gore, dark humor and superb storytelling I have ever had the surprisingly sincere pleasure of experiencing.

Movie Details

Title: Inglourious Basterds

Release Year: 2009

Director(s): Quentin Tarantino

Writers(s): Quentin Tarantino

Actors: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender a.o.

4 stars for Inglorious Basterds

© 2019 Sam Shepards

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