Inglorious Basterds Movie Review

Inglorious BasterdsQuentin Tarantino Delivers a Top Notch War Movie

Brad Pitt stars in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II alternate history thriller, Inglorious Basterds.

The film opens with a visit by SS Colonel Hans Landa to a French dairy farm in the aftermath of the invasion of France, in the spring of 1940. In the wake of the invasion, the mercurial Col. Landa has earned the nickname, “the Jew Hunter,” for his ability to sniff out Jews in hiding. After a 25 minute cat-and-mouse game with the farm’s owner, Landa uncovers the Jewish family hiding under the farm house floor and has them shot, but not before their ten year old daughter is able to escape.

Synopsis of Inglorious Basterds

In the meantime, Lt. Aldo Raine, a maverick member of the 1st Special Service Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade, has recruited a team of eight American Jewish soldiers to parachute behind Nazi lines and conduct hit-and-run raids in advance of the Operation Overlord landings. The prior exploits of Raine’s team are only hinted at throughout the movie, but it is clear that they have gained a reputation among their enemies. As a result, the Germans have dubbed them “the Basterds” and have assigned Col. Landa to track them down.

The story is then complicated by the reappearance of the young Jewish girl who survived the massacre of her family at the hand of Col. Landa. When she reappears, she is living under an assumed name as the owner of a small movie theatre in Paris. An unstoppable chain of events is set into motion after a chance encounter on the street one evening with Fredrick Zoller, a young Nazi sniper who has recently become a German war hero and whose exploits against the Allies have been turned into a film called Nation’s Pride by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Zoller is immediately smitten with the young Jew, who claims that her name is Emily Mimieux. Despite her lack of interest in him, Zoller is able to convince Goebbels to switch the premier of Nation’s Pride to Mimieux’s smaller theatre. On top of this, Adolf Hitler begins to sense that Nation’s Pride could be a major propaganda victory for the Germans and decides to attend the premier, as do Martin Borman, Hitler’s personal aide and Field Marshall Herman Goering, the head of the German Air Force, in addition to Goebbels.

Events to begin to move toward the inevitable climax when the Basterds meet with German movie star and Allied spy Bridget von Hammersmark, played by Diane Krueger, who informs them of these unexpected changes. Meanwhile, Mimieux senses the extraordinary opportunity Zoller has placed in her lap and begins hatching plans of her own, unaware that the Basterds are also planning to attack the theatre.

Critique of Inglorious Basterds

To give away the ending would spoil the fun of Inglorious Basterds, but it is safe to say that Quentin Tarantino has given film fans some of his best work in these 153 minutes. Inglorious Basterds is filled the top notch performances fans and critics alike have come to expect from Quentin Tarantino. While Brad Pitt has received top billing for his role as Lt. Aldo Raine, the real standout performance in this film is that of Christoph Waltz, who plays the cunning Col. Landa.

Another great surprise of Inglorious Basterds was its humour. Despite being advertised as a bloody, gritty World War II thriller, Inglorious Basterds is also surprisingly funny. It was quite amusing to hear Brad Pitt attempt to speak Italian in his false Tennessee accent. It was also amusing to see the Basterds introduce themselves to ex-Nazi Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz, and proclaim themselves “fans of his work” after he is arrested for killing 13 Gestapo agents.

It is this critic’s opinion that in making Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino has given movie goers a fresh and inventive war movie that pays respect to the history it depicts, but also reinvigorates a genre that has become weighed down with a host of Saving Private Ryan clones.

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