Inglourious Basterds

Film

War films

Ingl.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Aug 18 2009

You’ve got to admire the sheer, infectious force of Quentin Tarantino’s personality. Is there any other popular American director, who, like Tarantino, is constantly ranting and raving about cinema’s glorious past and giving young filmgoers reason to extend their DVD library back beyond ‘Star Wars’? Even the name of his new film is fondly stolen from a little known Italian movie of the 1970s. It’s only when you turn to Tarantino’s own films that things get more tricky. For the sad truth is that Tarantino, like cheap wine, just isn’t improving with age.

Which is an awkward reality because Tarantino obviously wants to put away childish things with this new film. Not only does Brad Pitt close the film with the self-regarding line ‘This may well be my masterpiece’, but ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is a little more restrained and a little more quiet than films like ‘Death Proof’ and ‘Kill Bill’.

I say ‘a little’ because much of the film is not quiet at all: when the music comes, it’s loud; when the deaths occur, they’re gruesome, even sadistic; and when the plot kicks in, it’s pure, wild fantasy.

The film moves liberally between French, German and English dialogue and takes us through five chapters. First, in 1941, we see a Nazi, Colonel Hans Landa (played by Austrian Christoph Waltz), known as ‘The Jew Hunter’, discover and kill a Jewish family in France; only the youngest daughter gets away.

Then we’re introduced to the ‘basterds’, a gang of eight Jewish-American soldiers who, while deep undercover, roam Nazi-occupied France, murdering German soldiers and collecting their scalps. They’re led by a Tennessee goodtime boy, played by Pitt, but oddly they’re not on screen much. Pitt is lively but he disappears for a long time and is upstaged by Waltz, who gives a teasing turn of sly comedy and cruel charm. His scenes are the film’s best.

For the film’s final chapters, we leap to Paris in 1944, where the two stories collide. The girl who fled the Nazis, Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) is now running a cinema (of course) which plays films by Riefenstahl and Pabst. A Nazi private, Frederick (Daniel Brühl), takes a shine to her. It turns out that his gun-toting heroics are being immortalised in a film produced by Goebbels, who decides that Shosanna’s cinema is perfect for the premiere. Shosanna and the ‘basterds’ decide that the screening is their chance to strike.

This might be a period movie, but still we clock Tarantino’s signature style – the extended, know-it-all dialogue, the tricky gunplay, the pop-cultural nods. There’s even a Mexican stand-off à la ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and the obligatory ‘nigger’ reference, this time in French. But this lacks the stylistic pizzazz of Tarantino’s best, and by putting more emphasis than usual on the chatter it makes it more obvious that the talk often lacks wit and verve.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tarantino takes the history of cinema more seriously than the history of Europe. References to films abound: Michael Fassbender’s British spy (who has an amusing, if silly, ‘Dr Strangelove’-like scene with a superior played by Mike Myers) used to be a critic and regurgitates what sounds like a Wikipedia entry on German film, while another character wonders whether he prefers Chaplin or the French silent actor Max Linder.

What’s not clear is what Tarantino wants to achieve: ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is an immature work that doesn’t know whether it’s a pastiche, a spoof, a counterfactual drama, a revenge tragedy or a character comedy. How can we, within a space of minutes, feel adult sympathy for a hunted Jewish family and then childish glee when a Nazi’s skull is crushed with a baseball bat? The one cancels out the other.

But perhaps the biggest faux pas is introducing real historical characters. Tarantino’s inventions are big enough – not least Waltz’s terrific ‘movie’ Nazi – so why does he have to court implausibility by dragging in a loony Hitler (Martin Wuttke, nothing special) and introducing Goebbels? You might imagine, too, that this film was written in the ’60s: Tarantino seems blithely uninterested in more than 60 years of slow reconciliation between Europe and its past.

‘Subtle’ is not a word in Tarantino's lexicon. At the film’s heart is a fatal attempt to conflate fact with fiction and a celebration of vengeance that’s misplaced and embarrassing. Loyal fans expecting a familiar patchwork of Tarantino tics and quirks – ‘Pulp History’ or ‘Kill Hitler’ – might not be disappointed. Those expecting anything approaching progress, cinematically or ideologically, probably will be.

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Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:8
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Jock

I finally got round to seeing the film last night. I spent today reading critics reviews, all of which were bad. Never take a critics opinion seriously. I found the film gripping from start to finish. I was not the only one. Nearly every person I have spoken to who has seen it gives it 5 stars. What do critics know ? most of them are so far up their own arse they have trouble seeing the cinema screen.

Jock

I finally got round to seeing the film last night. I spent today reading critics reviews, all of which were bad. Never take a critics opinion seriously. I found the film gripping from start to finish. I was not the only one. Nearly every person I have spoken to who has seen it gives it 5 stars. What do critics know ? most of them are so far up their own arse they have trouble seeing the cinema screen.

Sean

Okay, so here's the thing. Sure, pretty much everybody is going to complain about the historical innacuracy. But really kids. Just sit back and watch the movie and base your opinion of the movie on the movie, not the history. And second of all, the people complaining about showing these murderous Ally soldiers, just please, be quiet. Because I know that you wouldn't be complaining if he were showing the Nazis like that(And you aren't, because he did indeed show that). In the end, a movie is a movie, and as for the film itself, Tarantino pulls off some really neat shots. The scene in the bar is fantastic, and found myself going back to see exactly who shot who. The scene is most definitely not realistic, but it is put together very, very well. And like Tarantino said, isn't really a film about war, it's a film about films.

Rico

Time Out London reviewer got this right whereas so many other reviews were positive. I don't understand how any one who has any sense of history could glean anything from this contrived violent movie. The ending is absurd and ridiculous. How anyone could fall for this contrivance is beyond me. I'm offended by the low threshold. Just awful.

Gregg

For a Tarantino movie...utterly disappointing. I dont know what film these Tarantino lovers watched that touted it as his best picture since Pulp Fiction - I myself as a Tarantino lover thought it was his worst. The dialogue is weak, the story is weak, the fantasy history is just going to dumb a younger audience down...the cast was weak with the only standout being "The Jewhunter" Nazi. WEAK WEAK WEAK!!! Doesn't compare to any of his previous films. Even Death Proof was better, and thats saying alot. I can tell how tastes and culture are definitely deteriorating in America by the rave reviews this movie has gotten and is getting on these comments. Basterds is just not good.

Bob

Easily film of the year, a must watch if your a film lover!

Bob

Easily film of the year, a must watch if your a film lover!

David Green

This is pure Tarantino Pornography, and all budding independent filmmakers (myself included) should learn from this master-class.

Jools

I read the reviews but was almost literally dragged into seeing this film by my husband against my will. I thought it was an incredibly entertaining film, fabulous, intense dialogue and great, often comic acting.

Jools

I read the reviews but was almost literally dragged into seeing this film by my husband against my will. I thought it was an incredibly entertaining film, fabulous, intense dialogue and great, often comic acting.

Jim

amazing film with great character development, outstanding performances from cast particularly C. Waltz as the jew hunter. fantastic take on ww2 that shows the brutality of all parties and of the soldiers duty to his country, without taking itself to serious! the score is also fantastic

Jim

amazing film with great character development, outstanding performances from cast particularly C. Waltz as the jew hunter. fantastic take on ww2 that shows the brutality of all parties and of the soldiers duty to his country, without taking itself to serious! the score is also fantastic

James

quite awful - first shot was a clearly late 20th century scene, which irritated but things really got so much worse witha really dire plot that dealt with situations that should nto betrivialised. Other Tarantino stuck safely to the fantasy and were great - this is simply dire

roger rabbit

Was fantastic ....when the end credits came up ! Avoid & when comes out on dvd buy for someone you hate !Had a more enjoyable 2hrs in B & Q ...check out there power tools

ARM

I felt Tarantino's take on WW2 to be both vulgar and offensive. Brad Pitt seemed to me to be badly mis-cast in this role, the scene in the cinema where they are pretending to be Italian was laughable - for all the wrong reasons. There were a few saving graces, C Waltz was excellent as the Jew Hunter, as was Mélanie Laurent as the cinema owner. Both easily out-performed Pitt. To make any sort of comparison to Pulp Fiction, as some have on this forum however, I find insulting.

victoria

I was gobsmacked by the sheer feelgood factor of this terrific film. The critics hsve missed the point. The script is witty and ironic .It hits the nail on the head or should that be scalp,about the paranoid psychotic nature of prejudice, in its worst manifestations. The end is a stroke of genius in that it simply allows the audience to believe that Hitler was assassinated even though we know he wasn't. The soundtrack takes wonderful risks with music that turns old fashioned sentimentality on its head to breathtaking scenes and carries you along in sheer disbelief at the audacity of the heroic challenge which Tarantino has given Hollywood. It works. Brad Pitt has been liberated by looking ugly and his humorous acting proves it.T. has directed all the actors so well they r superb. The camerawork, script and direction balanced with soundtrack cocks a snoop at every corny lying violent war film u know. It is political without being dogmatic, it can be shocking but always optimistic. It is human but funny. The critics are jealous. See it and feel wonderful.

victoria

I was gobsmacked by the sheer feelgood factor of this terrific film. The critics hsve missed the point. The script is witty and ironic .It hits the nail on the head or should that be scalp,about the paranoid psychotic nature of prejudice, in its worst manifestations. The end is a stroke of genius in that it simply allows the audience to believe that Hitler was assassinated even though we know he wasn't. The soundtrack takes wonderful risks with music that turns old fashioned sentimentality on its head to breathtaking scenes and carries you along in sheer disbelief at the audacity of the heroic challenge which Tarantino has given Hollywood. It works. Brad Pitt has been liberated by looking ugly and his humorous acting proves it.T. has directed all the actors so well they r superb. The camerawork, script and direction balanced with soundtrack cocks a snoop at every corny lying violent war film u know. It is political without being dogmatic, it can be shocking but always optimistic. It is human but funny. The critics are jealous. See it and feel wonderful.

Peter

I really should have read timeouts review, it would have saved me the price of the tickets. Left after an hour, could not stand it any longer.

DV

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest slice of Tarantino-pulp. It's simply a revenge story that pokes fun at what was a ridiculous collection of people: the nazis. The campest depiction of Hitler that I've seen since the original Producers movie. Great performances, great plot, great soundtrack, and a very satisfying ending, depending upon your perspective! Go see it.

Rose

This film, as usual with a Tarantino film, was just fantastic. The best film I've seen at the cinema in a very long time, it came close to Pulp Fiction in my estimations. This review has some points but it is general far too negative and just wrong. Inglourious Basterds is an amazing film, clever, funny, and emotionally manipulative (in a good way!) and I came out of the showing beaming.

Rose

This film, as usual with a Tarantino film, was just fantastic. The best film I've seen at the cinema in a very long time, it came close to Pulp Fiction in my estimations. This review has some points but it is general far too negative and just wrong. Inglourious Basterds is an amazing film, clever, funny, and emotionally manipulative (in a good way!) and I came out of the showing beaming.

David

A fabulous film. And Waltz and Tarantino have created Cinema's best ever Nazi. Pitt good too but couldn't understand a lot of what he said. I don't know who this critic is writing for? It's not cinema audiences, One can examine a subject too deeply and come up with pseudo-academic tosh.

David

A fabulous film. And Waltz and Tarantino have created Cinema's best ever Nazi. Pitt good too but couldn't understand a lot of what he said. I don't know who this critic is writing for? It's not cinema audiences, One can examine a subject too deeply and come up with pseudo-academic tosh.

AB

Alright...for all I know nothing remains minutes after you have left the theatre. I found it Long, full of over used tarantinesque strings, the revenge, the music, the references, all teh things that made tarantino's cinema new and fresh by repetting themselves in every signle of its films just end up making it dull and annoying. That's it ! that's exactly the word that I was looking for for the feeling I had while watching teh movie, I was annoyed and irritated. Yes, there is at time beautifull cinematography and one or 2 good lines, but over 2hours and a half that's a bit slim. I genuinely wanted to love that movie, and felt so so so disapointed. The tarantino stamp still brings in the audience but for how long?

Ant Man

Sorry but Tarantino has produced only average films since Pulp Fiction. And this film is only just average. It's too long and wordy. And the clips make it feel like its an action packed war movie which it isn't.

Deano

Has this reviwer actaully seen the film for has he just heard what its about and decieded he doesn't like the idea of it, it is a brilliantly made film and very entertaining.

Les2647

Sorry, didn't like it at all. The most boring and stupid film I have ever watched. Brad Pitt only good thing about this.

Chris

Top notch as youd expect from Tarantino, seriously, these reviewers take their jobs too seriously!

Chris

Top notch as youd expect from Tarantino, seriously, these reviewers take their jobs too seriously!

Geee

Yes Tarantino could do with someone to get him to edit out more, Yes there's some dodgy politics and yes the characters are cartoon cut outs, but it actually is great fun. Each seen is beautifully staged and choreographed. The soundtrack is playful, and there are plenty of obscure cinema reference for us movie geeks. Why do so many critics take it so seriously, go with the flow and enjoy.

Jay

'I say ‘a little’ because much of the film is not quiet at all: when the music comes, it’s loud; when the deaths occur, they’re gruesome, even sadistic; and when the plot kicks in, it’s pure, wild fantasy ' - This is the only part of the review worth reading, instead of putting me off this SOLD the film to me, saw it lastnight and loved it, Tarantino is an artistic genious. Dave Calhoun clearly misses the point of Tarantino's work, perhaps he should not reveiw what he doesnt understand

Jay

'I say ‘a little’ because much of the film is not quiet at all: when the music comes, it’s loud; when the deaths occur, they’re gruesome, even sadistic; and when the plot kicks in, it’s pure, wild fantasy ' - This is the only part of the review worth reading, instead of putting me off this SOLD the film to me, saw it lastnight and loved it, Tarantino is an artistic genious. Dave Calhoun clearly misses the point of Tarantino's work, perhaps he should not reveiw what he doesnt understand

jim the trim

i thoroughly enjoyed the film, had me engrossed. no not historicaly acurate though, but the twist at the end and the mass slaughter was a good twist for those that know history, as we were waiting for the basterds to all get caught one by one, and for the war to continue. the atmospheric filming was also excellent, as were the characters and casting. a mixture of sadness humour cruelty all closely following one another was exactly what tarrantino wanted ,and he achieved that 100%

jim the trim

i thoroughly enjoyed the film, had me engrossed. no not historicaly acurate though, but the twist at the end and the mass slaughter was a good twist for those that know history, as we were waiting for the basterds to all get caught one by one, and for the war to continue. the atmospheric filming was also excellent, as were the characters and casting. a mixture of sadness humour cruelty all closely following one another was exactly what tarrantino wanted ,and he achieved that 100%

Mr_3_7

This film may not be up to level of some of his previous production but still all of Tarantino class and style is there. All in all, a WWII set Western movie, hystorically inaccurate , so it is. Characters are wonderfully depicted, with the possible exception of the hystorical ones; acting is on average very good, with a superb Waltz shining above everyone else. Plot is decent even though linear, with some not really convincing twists. Its weak spots are probably a cetain lack of unit and sense of flow, and the inappropriate use of quite inconsistent hystorical characters, All of the rest is there; you got the action, the killing and the endless talking parts (please DON'T complaint about these, if you don't like them then you don't like Tarantino, and shouldn't be seeing the movie). At least two great moments of cinema; the opening sequence in the farmer house, and the the tavern rendez-vous. Please don't judge this movie for what is not i.e. a WWII movie.

Bryan

Sorry, this review is terrible. A reviewer who fails to grasp a film should not be writing reviews about it. Like all QT films, this film is a many-layered work of art. If you want to see a light-hearted gorefest, watch it. If you want to see a suspenseful thriller, watch it. If you want to have a good laugh and agree that extreme violence has its place in comedy, watch it. If you want to see an art-house movie, beautifully shot with an excellent soundtrack and intelligent dialogue, dark and disturbing: watch it. This film is many things, all of them good.

Bryan

Sorry, this review is terrible. A reviewer who fails to grasp a film should not be writing reviews about it. Like all QT films, this film is a many-layered work of art. If you want to see a light-hearted gorefest, watch it. If you want to see a suspenseful thriller, watch it. If you want to have a good laugh and agree that extreme violence has its place in comedy, watch it. If you want to see an art-house movie, beautifully shot with an excellent soundtrack and intelligent dialogue, dark and disturbing: watch it. This film is many things, all of them good.

RM

Unbelievably dull. Unbelievably dire. Unlike his early greats, of which I'm a huge fan, this has no wit, little humour and the uncharacteristically linear plot pedestrian at best. Pitt and co are underused and he provides the film#s only moment of comic relief. I want my 2 and-a-half hours back Quentin.

Nigelbee

I thought it pretty much a five star QT film. Beautifuly lit and photographed by Robert Richardson with a (believe it or not) subtle sound track full of nuance and detail. Great performances from Pitt and company and QT's great gift of writing dialogue shines through.

Nigelbee

I thought it pretty much a five star QT film. Beautifuly lit and photographed by Robert Richardson with a (believe it or not) subtle sound track full of nuance and detail. Great performances from Pitt and company and QT's great gift of writing dialogue shines through.

Sutton

I thought this was an enjoyable and humorous take on WW2 movies and would recommend it as worth a viewing. I thought all the leads were good, particularly the SS officer. Whilst IB is extremely violent in places, it is no different from the directors other films in this regard.

Gerry Mandel

Wow! I loved this movie. And I see a lot of movies. Tarantino is in full command of his talents and delivered a highly enjoyable mix of humor, violence, unforgettable characters and captivating story. I'm going back to see it again this weekend. Quentin knows how to break the rules and make it all work.

Gerry Mandel

Wow! I loved this movie. And I see a lot of movies. Tarantino is in full command of his talents and delivered a highly enjoyable mix of humor, violence, unforgettable characters and captivating story. I'm going back to see it again this weekend. Quentin knows how to break the rules and make it all work.

flix

Complete with an SS officer you'll love to hate, Col. Landa comically played OTT by Christoph Waltz and the perfect Diane Kruger as the oh so tasty Bridget von Hammersmark both steal the available limelight from former eye candy Brad who's barely clicking in this movie that's packing bums on seats despite lame critical reviews spouting inane drivel (sit down Usman) - thanks again QT for entertaining us all.

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