Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Inglorious Basterds

Got around to seeing it at last.

15 years later on I've heard strangely little about this movie beyond Christoph Waltz who we'll get to, so walking in I was blind but from years of seeing Quentin's films and recognizing that pansche that style he brings I knew it was worth watching. True to himself the movie is split into five chapters, connected in one way or another, of an operation in nazi occupied France to pretty much firebomb the high regime of the third reich as we follow a cinema owner, a group of americans behind enemy lines, and allied agents who all have pieces to the puzzle for ending the war. For a movie clocking in at two and a half hours it does not feel it's length able to build the mood, suspense, and story without rushing and while the characters don't ooze depth they all are immediately identifiable and engaging. Brad Pitt as the Tennesse bred leader of the american party Aldo Raine though not as much a focal point as you would believe is fun to watch and believable in the role. Melanie Laurent as the cinema owner Shosanna has her own agenda and story involving a german soldier, and because she's a theater owner we get to flex those movie muscles bringing up film around the mid 20s to late 30s so that's always great! And maybe this was just me, and I almost hate to say it but I think overhype is the keyword when it comes to Christoph Waltz as the SS officer Hans Landa, at least for me. Far from calling it bad, the dichotomy of how Waltz plays it so charming and nonchalant before seeing the cold dead stare and meticulous extermination of jewish people is indeed great, you almost get lost in the pleasantries before you remember oh yeah, nazi fuck! But somehow without spoilers I've heard people tout Landa as one of the greatest movie villains over the years and I just saw a solid performance. And I will give credit where it's due that Quentin Tarantino doesn't make light of the second world war, it does stand all on it's own as a war movie an alternate history war movie but regardless it takes itself seriously and doesn't shy away from the so called "Just War" when really it wasn't so black and white. It's no Django Unchained and just replace racist bigots with natzis, but nor is it a gritty as hell reality grounded war epic like All Quiet On The Western Front or Saving Private Ryan, there are some quirks of Tarantino but largely is it's own beast. That stated however the violence and blood is upped, the entirely practical production is outstanding with the period clothing and sets and the startling pyrotechnics. Soundtrack is pretty bitchin' too but that's to be expected! I'm so happy I got around to seeing it and talking about it, I do recommend it but the caveat here is Quentin Tarantino is a diverse filmmaker and you never know what project is next for him leading to different tastes and tones so don't walk into it expecting a Pulp Fiction or Once Upon A Time In Hollywood kinda vibe. It's something different but worthwhile and trying different stuff can be exciting. 3.5 stars, 8/10, and I guess Civil War is up next. Not the historical Civil War, no not the Marvel Civil War, the other Civil War. Yeah that one.

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