INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, Quentin Tarantino 2009
After months of promo, trailers and delays for release date, we finally got Inglorious Basterds in our cinemas, and after watching it two times I reckon the reward for the wait was worth it.
After so many negative critics received for Death Proof, and clues given as Inglorious Basterds action was set during II WW during Nazi occupation, everybody thought we were about to watch Kelly’s Heroes revisited from a more bloody and violent perspective. Nevertheless the result has been totally different, being again criticized by fans, critics and detractors for not being violent and bloody enough, this is, for not being a Tarantino movie.
Well, such expectations of recovering Tarantino essence from the first movies are a bit of nonsense. He’s evolved as everybody does, focusing more in situations created by dialogues rather than blood baths or crazy dynamic stories such as in Pulp Fiction.
In Nazi occupied France two different stories with Jews in common happen in Paris at the same time.
First story tells about how the young Shosanna Dreyfuss (Mélanie Laurent) escapes from the Jew Hunter, SS Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), after her family is massacred when trying to hide from Nazis in a neighbor farm owned by Monsieur Pierre LaPadite (Denis Menochet).
Four years after, in Paris and with the false identity of Emmanuelle Mimieux, Shosanna, who owns a modest cinema, is being courted insistently by a young German soldier, Fredrik Zoller (Daniel Brühl), who has developed such a crush on her up to a point, he convinces Joseph Goebbels to celebrate premiere of the movie A Nation’s Pride in which, not only he’s the principal star but also narrates his brave experience in war against 300 allies soldiers for which he’s become national hero. Thus, Shosanna, realizing that the cinema will be plenty of SS outstanding personalities decides to plan a strategy to avenge her family.
Second story is about the Inglorious Basterds, a special command formed by Jew American soldiers and led by Lieutenant Aldo the Apache Raine (Brad Pitt), whose main target is simple, to kill Nazis and cut as many Nazi scalps as possible, at least one hundred.
As the word of the premiere of A Nation’s Pride reaches the Allies, considering the possibility of attempting against the most relevant and powerful figures of the III Reich, British Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) with the support if the Basterds is sent to Paris to join a German double agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), who se condition of established and popular actress provides direct access to the premiere, to carry out the dangerous mission which could become the master strike to end war once and for all.
Both stories converge at the cinema premiere with shocking results.
For several reasons the movie has received many negative comments…again. On one hand by the extensive scenes with endless dialogues in German or French, the lack of blood and action on the other, and the impossible end that laughs at the II WW history.
No doubt Tarantino loves focusing on dialogues, and he’s an specialist in extending them beyond the limit to conclude them with a sudden effect strike, but this is nothing new at all, since his earliest works he blindly relies on rich dialogues, containing a full dose of psychology in every word, enabling audience to portrait the characters and build their opinions around them. And also he’s a master on deciding when to finish them with a sudden blow to shock you.
Reckoning the dialogue as the director’s trademark since the very beginning, it is true that since Kill Bill vol. II, Tarantino is highlighting dialogues more than ever.
In my opinion there are three scenes in particular deserving being praised: the very first one with Hans Landa enquiring Monsieur LaPadite about the missing Jew family Dreyfuss , changing from French to English; second with Landa asking Emmanuelle Mimieux about the cinema features for security reasons at a restaurant, having a strudel; and the last one at the subterranean tavern with German soldiers, von Hammersmark, few Basterds and the SS official…really cool. The three scenes are long, and based on dialogues, prevailing German and French over English, something that much audience accustomed to English or overdubbed films have failed to taste.
The cast of characters is very impressive however don’t think Brad Pitt should be placed as the main character, no doubt his name is very attractive to audience, but Cristoph Waltz playing the role of Hans Landa being the link between the two stories, cannot be considered less than impressive.
Regarding the end of the movie, well, from the very beginning everybody knows that is fiction taking historic events and places as settings, thus, why not playing a bit with the Nazis’ fates even though we know what really happened? To tell the truth for me it’s more interesting what happens to Landa, rather than to people at the cinema.
Does Tarantino deserve to be criticized for distorting history for his own convenience? Maybe, but I don’t think he’s been the first and surely won’t be the last one in handling history for their own purposes, but when dealing with Hitler and III Reich, seems that nobody is allowed to joke about it.