'Inglourious Basterds', the 2009 film directed by Quentin Tarantino is an intrepid masterwork, with a touch of dark humour here and there. Its all- star cast consists of Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent. Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger and the amazing Christoph Waltz who was carefully hand-picked by Tarantino. If you paid attention, the great director himself made a small cameo in the beginning, as an SS soldier.
Here’s what happens: Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) is a Jewish lieutenant who leads a group of the finest Jewish soldiers, The Basterds, whose only objective was to kill Nazis, and eventually, assassinate Hitler himself. We’re also introduced to the most interesting characters in the beginning- SS Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz), and Shosanna Dreyfus, a French Jew who had her whole family slaughtered by Hans when she was just a child. But Landa had no idea that Dreyfus had successfully escaped to Paris and opened a small cinema under the name ‘Madame Mimieux’.
What I love about Inglourious Basterds is not the plot, but the characters and their witty, entertaining dialogues. Hans Landa, played to perfection by Christoph Waltz, is absolutely my favorite character. He speaks German, English, French, and enough Italian to impress the audience (Remember ‘Gorlami’?). Landa makes an exemplary villain: he’s vicious, sarcastic, theatrical, and humorous. His philosophy is worth dwelling over too: “I love rumours. Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.” The role earned Waltz an Oscar and plenty other awards.
As for the Basterds, the actors did not do a bad job, but there is nothing to be too impressed at, except Christoph Waltz. Brad Pitt’s face could’ve been a little more relaxed, as he seemed uncomfortably stiff. Eli Roth was decent, but not too memorable. They all have their moments, but from what I’ve seen, Landa and Dreyfus stole the show.
Melanie Laurent also presented us with a flawless performance. She’s strong, calm, arrogant, vengeful, and flirty. When Shosanna met Hans Landa at a party Zoller forced her to be at, she was boiling with rage, but impressively, cold and awkward- looking on the outside. This table scene is one of the best in Inglourious Basterds. Who could ever forget the femme fatale’s image in the last chapter? Red dress, red lipstick, black veil, and a cigarette- gorgeous! The director paid attention to all the little details when Shosanna’s on screen, and I love how everything paints such an impeccable picture. It’s almost as if every shot of Laurent was painted by Giovanni Boldini. Dreyfus has the most interesting backstory of all characters, and Laurent did not let us down one bit. I fell in love with her.
Once again, Tarantino did an excellent job with the movie. He made violence and evil seem...delightful. Although it is war- themed, Basterds has a very elegant touch. It provides us with an alternative ending to WWII, an unlikely one, but not one I don’t enjoy. Some might complain about the subtitles and the length of the movie, but I think these elements worked very well. If it was shorter, with less dialogue and more action, the film wouldn’t have been so splendid. I say leave it like it is.