Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Oscar Movie Review: "Inglorious Basterds" (2009)

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Movie"Inglorious Basterds"
Year Nominated: 2010
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 33 minutes
Did It Win?: No.

In this alternate version of World War II, Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and his band of American born Jewish soldiers known as the Basterds are assembled with the sole purpose of killing Nazis. Meanwhile, a French, and secretly Jewish, theater owner named Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) is plotting her own revenge. Her family was massacred years before by an infamous SS officer known as the Jew Hunter, Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). A young Nazi sniper hero, Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brühl), has taken a liking to Shosanna and has convinced his Nazi commanders to hold the premier of the propaganda film based on his heroics at her theater. It is at this theater that the Basterds plan their final assault and where Shosanna plans to exact her revenge. 
Quentin Tarantino is known for his intricate dialogue and his bold, stunning visuals. "Inglorious Basterds" is no exception to this. We are huge Tarantino fans and this film did not disappoint us. The way he was able to take this dramatic story and blend it with history, both deriving from true details and the ones he has rewritten for himself, along with his signature stylish visuals makes this film an absolutely entertaining and bloody treat.

Though there are many excellent parts of this movie, the performance put on by Christoph Waltz in his first major film role is the biggest standout here. He does an exceptional job as Col. Hans Landa. His dialogue delivery is absolutely tremendous and he presents his part with a fantastic mix of snark and evil. He deservedly won the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in this film. He so sinister and yet so twistedly funny that it's really a treat to watch. We have come to love Waltz as an actor, but he seems to be 100% better than his already fabulous self when he is paired with Quentin Tarantino.

In fact, there are many exceptional performances throughout the film. Brad Pitt is in his prime as Lt. Aldo Raine, suave and dirty with a Nazi chip on his shoulder and a take-no-prisoners attitude. Daniel Brühl plays Frederic Zoller, a Nazi hero and superstar turned propaganda actor. Mélanie Laurent is the beautiful and strong Shosanna, who watched her family murdered in front of her and silently vowed revenge. Michael Fassbender is Lt. Archie Hicox, a British Special Forces soldier who works with Bridget von Hammersmark, well-known German actress turned double agent, played by Diane Kruger. Til Schweiger and many others round out a fantastic cast of characters who all play their roles well and with such a resounding conviction.

As we mentioned above, this movie is a bloody mess and there is also no shortage of unapologetic graphic violence here. A relatively quiet moment of tension quickly comes a room full of dead soldiers. Aldo "The Apache" is tasked with collecting Nazi scalps for his revenge job. Eli Roth's "The Bear Jew" has a penchant for bashing in the heads of Nazis with a baseball bat. And, of course, the end of the movie, in a fiery, blazing inferno comes an ending you won't soon forget.

Revenge and carnage go together like peanut butter and jelly, but when the two are placed in Tarantino's very capable hands, "Inglorious Basterds" becomes a manifestation of his sick and twisted yet ingenious mind.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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