Monday, December 21, 2009
Movie Monday: Inglorious Basterds
Suppose you are a movie buff and you have a hunger for rich, thick dialogue, well formed plot, situational dilemmas, and a bit of fantasy then you will thoroughly enjoy the movie, “Inglorious Basterds.” This is the kind of movie Directors and screenwriters go to get inspiration. Now, if you watch the trailer, you would think the movie was about Brad Pitt and a band of Jewish GI’s wreaking havoc in German occupied France. You would then find out that Brad Pitt’s group serves a much less important role to movie. Instead, this primary characters in this movie are the “Jewish hunter” colonel Landa, played brilliantly in his first English role by Christopher Waltz, and the Jewish girl that gets away from Landa in the beginning of the movie.
I don’t want to give away the plot, so I will only provide the highlights of what I enjoyed. I enjoyed any scene featuring Colonel Landa. An actor must work with a script and make it come to life. In Waltz’s case, he coupled a great script with brilliant acting. Inglorious Basterds is a movie about dialogue rich scenes. In fact, it opens with a wonderful exchange between a Frenchmen, hiding Jews under his floor, and Colonel Landa , looking for the Jews under the floor. The best scene in the movie involves 3 of the German speaking Basterds in German uniform meeting their contact in a basement bar. They must navigate the inquisitive Gestapo officer in a standoff that shows what would have happened in Reservoir Dogs if we were allowed to see what happened to the victims of the famous standoff.
Aside from the dialogue and scenes, there are other elements of film making that Quentin Tarantiino interweaves into his movie to provide for a full movie experience. Tarantino’s use of borrowed scrores from Enrico Morricone evokes images of great movies from the past. I was especially appreciative of the use of the score “Zulus” from the movie “Zulu Dawn” during a scene featuring a black projectionist about to set a cinema on fire. I am probably one of 5 people in the entire country that could recognize that score so it is nice to know I share that exclusivity with Tar]rantino. It was also cool to hear it because the movie “Zulu Dawn” is the origin of what made me and this blog ZULUBUFF. Back to the movie, Tarantino also did not shy away from the use of subtitles. I would say that most of the dialogue spoken in the movie was not English at all. Since I speak a tiny bit of German, hearing the German dialogue sent me back to my time in this country. If you don’t like subtitles, don’t see this movie, but I will say it is probably worth getting to like them.
This movie is a fantasy set within the context of real history, to a point. All of the key historical characters are real, and there really was a World War 2, but what makes Inglorious Basterds different from all other war fiction is how it takes on the mantle of fiction. A movie like Saving Private Ryan tries its best to be historical. Aside from the mission itself, the goal of the director was to make you feel as if the audience was watching a documentary. A movie like Kelly’s Heroes uses World War 2 as a back drop for a caper movie. It doesn’t alter history, instead the premise is that maybe at some point in the war at some point in the front lines, maybe a group of GI’s would have the opportunity to rob a Nazi bank. Inglorious Basterds rewrites history. It is done in such a way that you smile at how much you wish history really played out the way Tarantino writes it. That’s all I can say about that.
If you are hesitant to watch this movie because of the reputation Tarantino has, good or bad, you must see the movie. It plays on so many levels
Posted by jrchaard at 8:58 AM