Second Opinion – Inglourious Basterds

Movie Review #870


By Red Stewart


Premiered July 28, 2009 (Berlin)
Released August 21, 2009 (nationwide)
Adventure, Drama, War
Rated R (contains graphic violence, profanity, brief sexual content)
153 minutes

I’ll confess right here that “Inglourious Basterds” was my first Tarantino film, so I imagine watching it must’ve been like how everyone felt seeing “Pulp Fiction” for the first time twenty years ago. The genre blending, the long conversations that end in violence, the artistic style in each scene…it just all comes together so beautifully that I now realize why Tarantino is universally praised by audiences.

I describe “Inglourious Basterds” as an epic poem because it’s literally divided into five long chapters, each connected and each entertaining. Acting as an alternate take on World War II, the United States sends a Jewish group of soldiers known as the Basterds to wage a war of attrition on the Nazis, lead by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). In other parts of Germany, a Jewish girl named Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) plans revenge on Nazi officials following the murder of her family years ago. Connecting both of these arcs is the high-ranking Nazi official Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), who aims to carry out Hitler’s Final Solution to the very end. Waltz’s performance has earned more praise than I could ever offer, so I’ll let his awards (including the Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor) speak for themselves.

It’s hard to really describe what makes a Tarantino movie like “Inglourious Basterds” so damn fun. As I listed before, the mixing of all the genres is just incredible; one moment you’ll be laughing, the other your jaw will be dropped speechless; scenes change mood in the blink of an eye. What impressed me the most were the long bouts of dialogue characters would have with one another. These weren’t boring speeches, but legitimately sounding banter you’d expect people in their respective situations to be saying. I honestly do think Tarantino deserved the Best Original Screenplay Oscar over Mark Boal for The Hurt Locker because I was legitimately caught up in the conversations all the characters had with one another, even when they were speaking about simple things like a guessing game.

Tarantino is all about cinematography and the coming together of events. It’s pointless to waste time trying to explain something that’s near-unexplainable, so I’ll cut this review short by saying go watch “Inglourious Basterds” if you haven’t already!