|“Inglourious Basterds” a triumph of cinema|
|Written by Hannah Tomlin, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Sunday, 30 August 2009 18:46|
In this highly intense, bloody and exhilarating WWII adventure featuring a group of American Jews seeking vengeance upon Nazis, Quentin Tarantino rewrites history in a manner that could only be created by the mind of such a twisted genius.
“Inglourious Basterds” starts with the on-screen title: “Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France.” Divided into five chapters, this two and a half hour epic tale provides no opportunities for the audience to check their watches.
As the film begins, a Nazi convoy approaches a home in the country. Colonel Hans Landa (Christopher Waltz) steps out to interrogate a dairy farmer (Denis Menochet) about the repercussions of hiding and protecting Jews; meanwhile, a Jewish family quietly shudders beneath his floor.
In this scene, Landa sets the stage for his relentlessly cruel, yet clever and vastly intelligent character. As a private investigator for the Nazis, Landa “The Jew Hunter” will let nothing stop him from completing his missions.
Throughout the film, Landa is the person everyone loves to hate. At the Cannes film festival, Waltz won a best actor award for his flawless portrayal of this despicably evil Nazi Col., and many are already suggesting that he deserves an Oscar.
On the other side, Brad Pitt also provides a stunning performance as Lieutenant Aldo Raine, also known as “Aldo the Apache.” Despite his amusing Southern accent, Raine also relentlessly pursues his goal, to bring down the Third Reich. As their first order of business, he firmly demands that each of the twelve members of the Inglourious Basterds bring him 100 Nazi scalps.
Another vital character in the film is Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), the only member of her family who managed to escape from the infamous Col. Landa. As a teenage girl, she fled from underneath the farmer’s floorboards and escaped to Paris, where she ended up running a theater with her only friend, Marcel (Jacky Ido).
As it so happens, a young German war hero notices her working one night and quickly becomes attracted to her cold distance and beauty. Known for the number of soldiers he has killed, Private Fredrick Zoller was asked to star in a propaganda film about his own experiences in the war, entitled “Nation’s Pride.”
This leads to an interesting series of events. In order to win over his love interest, Zoller arranges for the film to premiere at her theater. In order to protect her identity, she must comply with these requests. However, she also finds a way to take advantage of this unlikely situation.
Since the Basterds have snuck into France dressed as civilians, they’ve also made some contacts. British soldier Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender), General Ed Fenech (Mike Myers) and the classy German actress Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) share the same ambition for bringing down the Nazis.
When some of the Basterds meet Von Hammersmark at an underground bar, intensity builds as a German soldier angrily questions one of the members about the origin of his accent. Disguised as a German soldier, he claims to be from an obscure location in which everyone shares this strange accent.
The tension continues to grow after the soldier invites himself to sit down and have a drink with the group. As they banter back and forth, the dialogue and attitude of the characters is reflective of the style that Tarantino fans have grown to love. After deviously acting friendly, the conflict escalates into an unexpected shoot-out.
Even more nerve-racking is the climax of the film, which will pull all viewers to the edge of their seats. On the night of the movie premiere, every important member of the Nazi Party is present, including Hitler. Unaware of the other’s presence, both Dreyfus and the Basterds use this night as an opportunity to seek their revenge.
The film grossed $37.6 million on opening weekend, and for most Tarantino fans, it will be difficult to visit the theater only once. His previous best opener, “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” earned $25 million in April 2004.
Despite the vast amount of violence and vengeance within its content, Tarantino also manages to instill humor within the dialogue, which provides some much-needed comic relief in certain scenes. Many believe it’s his best work since Pulp Fiction, and some have dared to say it’s even better. Overall, the film is exceedingly entertaining, and without doubt, a masterpiece beyond compare.