I...I don't even really know how to start this review. Usually, I'd begin with some kind of background history I have with the cast/crew of the movie I'm reviewing, so I guess that's as good as place as any to start. When the trailers for Inglourious Basterds began making their rounds online, I just kind of shrugged it off and was like, "Eh, could go either way." With my son being born six weeks prior to the film's release, any curiosity towards seeing the film had taken a backseat to the duties that come with fatherhood (and this movie opened the day before I went to an AC/DC concert as well). Truth be told, I wasn't as excited about this film as everyone else seemed to be upon its release because, not only was I still adjusting to the fact that I helped create life (two years later, it still hasn't sunk in some days), but I have never seen a Quentin Tarantino film start to finish. Sure, I've seen bits and pieces of Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, but my experience with Quentin Tarantino has been extremely limited as a whole. The other night I listed a bunch of movies on my Facebook status, asking which ones to review next and Inglourious Basterds won. So, what did I think of it?
Join The Basterds! Meet New People & Scalp Them!
The whole movie begins with Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) interviewing a French dairy farmer in Nazi-occupied France in 1941. Landa discovers a Jewish family hiding beneath the farmer's home and his soldiers shoot up the floor, but one of the women (Melanie Laurent) escapes. We then get introduced to The Basterds, as the Germans call them, led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) as he readies his team of Jewish Americans to head into France and kill as many Nazis as humanly possible. The film then jumps forward three years and we see everything come together for the Jewish woman and the Basterds to get all the important Nazis, including Adolf Hitler (Martin Wuttke), in one place to wipe them out, unbeknownst to each other.
You can tell how much I enjoy a movie from how many notes I take while watching it. If I only have about a double-sided sheet or less of notes once the credits roll, chances are I liked your movie. This was the case with Inglourious Basterds and recently positive review, Inception. However, while Inception's review was fairly easy to write, I find myself struggling with Basterds simply because since it's a Tarantino movie and how much various film buffs praise him, I don't think that I could really do this movie justice to let you read my gabs about it. I will, however, tell you some of the interesting things that I noticed about the flick. The good kind of interesting.
I want this guy to find more work in Hollywood. I just hope that he doesn't get tight casted.
If there's one thing Inglourious Basterds knows how to do, its take its time. For a movie that has a running time of 150 minutes, the scenery really doesn't change that much compared to other films the same length (or less, for that matter). Hell, the opening scene with Hans and the dairy farmer lasts for twenty minutes. Oddly enough, once the scene pans out, it only feels like five minutes. This scene sets the tone for the rest of the film because it seemed like every other scene that followed repeated this pattern, and it never got tiresome. I really don't know how to describe it, but Basterds is far longer than it feels, when usually its the other way around.
The second thing that I noticed with this film is that even though Brad Pitt and Eli Roth seemed to be the primary marketing bait for people to see this movie, they really aren't in the movie that much, Pitt especially. Fortunately, this isn't like in the case of some of those direct to DVD films where they'll have a big name actor in it for like two seconds and then use that as their primary marketing and when these actors (or most of the cast) are on screen, by God do they shine. Brad Pitt's usual voice seems pretty stock to me, but here with a southern Tennessee accent, I could watch Lt. Aldo Raine infomercials all day and not get tired of it.
"This Gnatsie killin' knife can be yours for just twelve, count 'em, twelve easy payments of $9.95. Cut through a scalp like cheese, it will."
I also couldn't help but notice that there's very, very little background music in this film, save for the final chapter of the film (its broken up into five chapters). This really helped add a sense of realism and made the film more alluring. While background music certainly isn't a hindrance by any means, it sets quite a different tone when gunfire and bombs go off and that's ALL you hear. Part of you almost forgets its a movie.
If I had to pick one negative thing about this movie, I'd have to say it was this character. Sure, his infatuation with the owner of the theatre got all the Nazis into one place, but other than that, he didn't seem all that important.
Much like Inception, I think Inglourious Basterds might take a repeat viewing in order to fully appreciate it. Since Tarantino has quite a reputation, I honestly feel like I'm missing something in this review, which if Tarantino has a lot of subtlety to his work, then I'm guaranteeing that I probably missed something with the first viewing. However (again, like Inception), I certainly wouldn't mind jumping down into the trenches and getting my hands dirty with the Basterds again.