Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Inglourious Basterds

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If you’re a fan for graphic and twisty turn war films, Inglourious Basterds just may be your movie to go to. The film has a unique “stab you in the back” feel throughout. We experience an alternative ending of World War II as the war ends in a bizarre twist compared to what actually happened. The movie uses black humor. Meaning, we sense a little humor throughout all the tense and serious scenes the characters go through. As for gore, don’t worry, we see a lot of bloody and violent scenes. The film still maintains the features that give it the war film genre so viewers looking for a war movie won’t be disappointed.

The film is directed by Quentin Tarantino and features a well developed plot with an interesting cast of characters. The actors themselves are solid and do a good job keeping in character. The movie features the Basterds, a group intent on killing Nazis and only killing them. The dead are scalped while the rare survivors are allowed to escape with a Swastika carved on their foreheads. The leader of the Basterds, Lt. Aldo Raine, has a knack for carving the Swastika and believes he improves his skill after each carving he does.

The Basterds receive a special mission that will allow them to assassinate several head officers of the Nazi Socialist Party, including Hitler. The film also follows the life of a Jew, Shosana, who barely escapes from being killed by the Nazis. She is fortunate to get the opportunity to get revenge on the Nazis. Several Nazi head officers, including Hitler, are coming to her cinema to watch the premiere of a Nazi film that will fuel Nazi Germany’s pride. The Basterds and Shosana have the same targets but are unaware of the other. Both are later intertwined within their own troubles and problems.

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Both end up in the same cinema with the same mission: to kill Hitler and his men. One problem ensues: they are not aware of each other The film is filled with various, colorful characters. First, Brad Pitt (Lt. Aldo) plays a fine leader of the Basterds with his Southern drawl and slick hair. His “no fear” attitude and witty remarks keeps a slightly less serious tone to the film. Eli Roth plays Donny Donowitz, also known as the “Bear Jew”. He puts on a quick show by beating the pulp out of Nazi heads with a baseball bat. Christoph Waltz, in my opinion, was the star of the movie despite being the villain.

He plays Hans Landa the Jew Hunter and is a mastermind at finding them. Waltz shines as the film’s main villain by acting sweet and ignorant to his victims but later reveals his evil side. Also, the fact that he shows his knowledge for four different languages doesn’t hurt his brilliant side, either. Melanie Laurent (Shosana) plays her role fantastically. In the scenes after her near death experience, she puts on a fake but rather convincingly happy look, but, viewers know she is still hurting inside and her facial expressions tell us successfully.

She always wears a smile, but there’s a glint of sadness in her slow movements. Hitler and Goebbels are portrayed as fools that lack leadership and intelligence. They are merely cast for humorous purposes as they are seen as silly buffoons during a meeting that discusses very important war material. The movie is supported by the right type of music. A gloomy, mellow tune fills our ears during a quiet French town scene. During introduction of certain characters, there is slightly humorous electric guitar chord that plays to maintain a metro soundtrack.

Then it gets ridiculous as a tune fit for a parade fills the theater during the Nazi movie premiere massacre. The music matches the scenes perfectly at times. Whereas in times of subtle humor, the music may seem ridiculous but adds a nice humorous touch to it. Like many movies, Inglourious Basterds includes parodies and deeper meanings behind the actual storyline. The biggest part is the alternative ending to World War II in a bizarre and unimaginable way. I won’t mention the ending in order to not spoil the movie.

Lt. Aldo’s unusual interest in improving his skill in carving Swastikas on the foreheads of Nazis is oddly humorous in the twist of events he experiences. The movie also tells us a little bit of the brutality of the Nazis hunt for Jews. The Nazis were very diligent in attaining the Aryan race status they have desired by getting rid of Jews, who they see as inferior. The brutal killing of the Jew family in hiding in the first scene of the movie brings tension to the film. The movie also tells us that the war was costly and long of duration by introducing an alternate ending that ends the war sooner and with fewer casualties.

Just by hearing a little about the film, we learn that the film features a group of soldiers going deep into enemy territory in order to fulfill a mission that is filled with danger in every corner. Sounds like a typical World War II movie. But, the reason why the Inglourious Basterds appeals to me is simply because it is different from the typical World War II and war movies. In most war movies, the “good” guys are portrayed as heroic and glorious people. Their goal is to defeat the enemy in order to maintain peace.

However, in this film the “heroes” are rutal killers and show no mercy to their enemies, the Nazis: intent on scalping all of their victims and leaving barely any survivors. The film also mentions the use of deceit in order for the Allies to sneak through Axis officers. One humorous and different scene is when Lt. Raine attempts to sneak into the premiere with his men by pretending to be Italian. They know very little Italian and have poor accents at that. They believed they would be able to sneak past the security officer, Hans Landa, but find out Landa is, in fact, very fluent in Italian.

This brings some laughs because viewers didn’t expect Landa to know so many languages (He knows English, French, and German, as well as Italian). During a scene like this, viewers expect to see the heroes to be able to sneak by. When Raine and his men are so close to blow the living life of Hitler and his officers, Landa captures them. The following scene will surprise viewers of the absurdity. From watching a little of Inglourious Basterds, I have realized that I can’t expect anything to happen because a totally aberrant event happens instead.

This film goes beyond the ordinary and is a unique addition to the war film genre. Overall, the movie is different and Tarantino does a great job in portraying the war’s villains, Hitler and Goebbels as dumb idiots. The plot is filled with twists and turns and not in a cliched way. Viewers can see each other confused as to whether they should laugh or not at scenes that brings humor with a serious tone. The movie never strays away from the actual plot and Tarantino has brought upon us another great and ingenious film. The film is nowhere near “inglourious”.

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