inglourious basterds

August 25, 2009

“each and every man under my command owes me one hundred nazi scalps… and i want my scalps!”

at moments during the film i was taken in by the beautiful camera movement and composition, at moments i was laughing hysterically, at moments i was scared to death. tarantino weaves a story that basically just rewrites history.  he throws caution to the wind and enjoys it as much as somebody should be allowed to enjoy something.

the basterds are a group of jewish american soilders whose only goal is to find and kill nazis.  they are led by aldo the apache (brad pitt) and because of his native american roots they not only kill the nazis, but leave their bodies dismembered and disemboweled so as to strike fear in their enemies eyes.  and quentin has now qualms showing us some of this action.

the movie has some very serious moments where normal ww2 films would let those moments sit and settle with the viewer.  but not quentin.  anytime the atmosphere gets too serious, he undercuts it with something ridiculous.  whether it’s busting out a gigantic pipe or a little quip from brad pitt or when eli roth comes out of the tunnel and we’re unbelievably scared.  he kills a german with a bat, then acts like an eight year old boy running around his back yard.  quentin doesn’t let the seriousness of any moment ever sit with us too long.

all the praise i’ve read so far has been for christoph waltz who plays colonel hans landa (aka the jew hunter), and i’m afraid i will be no different.  he is phenomenal.  he is unlike any villain i’ve ever seen in film, and i give qt a lot of credit for that as well.  but waltz is the one who materialized the character.  he gave life to one of the most intriguing characters on screen this year and is a lock for “best performance of the year” lists.  at least mine.  but don’t let his performance overshadow brad pitt, because i think he’s just as fun to watch.  he isn’t given as much screen time (which surprised me), but is just living it up on the screen when he’s out there.  he gives one of the more surprising performances of the year.

i never knew what was going to happen next in this film.  i was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and for a two and a half hour long movie it’s pretty painful to be sitting there.  quentin keeps us guessing around every corner, and gives us possibly the most fun we could have in theaters this year.  i did get a little uncomfortable in the scenes where i thought quentin was reveling in the violence a little too much, but in terms of a ratio to the rest of the film, those moments are few and far between.

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