Inglourious Basterds

inglorious-bastards-1
And you WILL go see this movie or I will keel you…

Quentin Tarantino is a great director. He has made some classic films in his day and many consider him to be the premiere independent filmmaker of all-time! I don’t know who his competition is, so I won’t go there. However his past works do place him in a league all his own. No one has ever taken B-film material and turned it into A-film must-see moviemaking like Tarantino has. So when the word spread that he was making a film to profess his love for the 1978 B-film war movie, “The Inglorious Bastards”, Tarantino junkies waited in anticipation. As did I. But I wasn’t as excited about this one as a lot of people were. I’m not a war movie lover but I have seen all of Tarantino’s films and have enjoyed them all for various reasons. His last film, “Grindhouse”, was a disappointment for me (even though he only directed half of the film) and this film has it’s great moments (like Grindhouse & the “Kill Bill” films), but for me Tarantino has become a little long-winded.

First though…the movie itself. It’s a really good movie. Better than “Grindhouse” and “Jackie Brown” but, in my opinion, not as good as “Pulp Fiction” or “Kill Bill I & II”. And the acting is superb in all the right ways. There are serious moments. There are dramatic moments. And then there are moments which are just plain hysterical. And there are moments that are so over the top & violent that you HAVE to laugh! And that is a sign of a good Tarantino movie. He makes you a little uncomfortable and then gives you the violence that the scene has been building up too and then…it’s over. And that is the Tarantino magic! And there is plenty of that in this film.

All of the actors are excellent, particularly Christoph Walz who plays Colonel Hans Landa, a nazi Jew hunter who is one of Hitler’s right-hand men. He plays his role with such glee and evil intentions that it’s hard not to watch the gleam in his eyes everytime he’s on the screen. He should get an Oscar nod for his role. Brad Pitt takes his role a little over-the-top as the captain of the Basterds, a band of nazi-scalping (literally) men who roam the French countryside, killing anyone wearing a swastika on their arm. And Melanie Laurent plays a stowaway Jewish woman who has reincarnated herself as a French theater owner and she has her own plans for revenge against the nazis.

The film is all done very stylishly and is definitely one of Tarantino’s best. But my ONLY problem with this movie is the length. It clocks in at a little under 3 hours and there are a few scenes which could have been trimmed back. Which was also a problem with “Grindhouse”. I don’t know if Quentin is just looking to prolong the scenes so that the viewer an anticipate the eventual violence or what, but there is a scene in the middle of the film that ALMOST put me to sleep. It’s just TOO long and could have been shortened considerably.

Needless to say, there isn’t much wrong with “Inglourious Basterds” except for the running time and the misspelled title (which is HYSTERICAL!). It’s a great homage to those war films of years ago and his hard work paid off. It will make a nice addition to his arsenal of films and will continue his reputation as one of the premiere filmmakers of our modern day!

Overall Rating: B

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