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Inglourious Basterds

50. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Another Tarantino flick bites the dust! Unlike others, I'm also very much a fan of Tarantino's more recent films (you could already deduce that from the inclusions of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Django Unchained formerly). I like that his new films are tackling different genres, but still in a very Tarantinoesque manner. That's why I'm also one of those people that would like him to continue making other genre films (preferably genres that he hasn't tackled yet, of course)! I like seeing certain directors' visions of various kind of film universes. From Tarantino, I'd still LOVE to see a '30s gangster film or a Sci-Fi film for instance! I think he'd be able to add a very interesting twist to both of those genres. Let's hope he'll ever get to it when he's still in top form!

I've actually hesitated between Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds as my second favorite Tarantino film for a long time, but ultimately I think the latter is Tarantino's best recently made film. Django Unchained is more 'free' and more 'breathing' in tone, which gives it a great deal of charm, but ultimately the excellent firmness, the more consistent quality and the more satisfying and bold climax of Inglourious Basterds makes it rise above the former. The circle is just perfectly round in Tarantino's World War II epic. The whole plot works.

Tarantino really let himself loose in this film and did not shy away from showing off his awesome writing and directing skills. The dialogue in all the different languages (which I all understand, by the way, because German, English and French are all part of the Belgian education I got) is fantastic and Tarantino's directing is very solid and recognizable as usual! One thing that struck me is that Tarantino put a whole bunch of small details in the film to make the audience and his characters feel a certain way or even to make his plot suddenly move in an unexpected direction. Examples are the Sherlock Holmes pipe Christoph Waltz' Hans Landa is smoking in the beginning scene, the milk and food he shares with Mélanie Laurent's Shosanna in the restaurant, the napkin and the shoe of Diane Kruger's Bridget von Hammersmark that are left in the bar and of course the way Fassbender's Lt. Archie Hicox orders three drinks of Scotch. I love that kind of stuff! A seemingly very futile object, event or detail suddenly gets much more meaning to it.

I also love the pace of this film. There's a constant building of suspense (both in a microscopic and macroscopic manner) and the plot also contains a couple of very cool climaxes (the last one of course being the most notable of them all, which isn't the case in Django Unchained and that's probably why so many people think the third act of that film is less satisfying). We get slow moving, but meaningful scenes that mainly focus on small details and interesting, subtle dialogues, while there are other moments of very extreme violence (my bit about violence in Tarantino's films in my write-up on Django Unchained also very much fits in this movie's context). This variation in tempo makes every pay-off much more effective than usual action-based films. That perfect mix between action and build-up is one of the reasons why Tarantino's films are so exhilirating.

There are many other aspects that make this film brilliant, like its excellent international cast, some very cool performances (Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz and Diane Kruger are my personal favorites in this film), the always extremely enjoyable dark humor that Quentin implants in most of his films also works wonderfully in the context of this story, there's a very bold and daring twist at the end of the movie and of course there's that irresistible Tarantinoesque style to it all!

Inglourious Basterds is in my opinion a modern masterpiece. It's the film that finally fully proved and confirmed that Tarantino is one of the greatest and most important directors of his generation (you have to keep in mind that this was only his second film that got him any serious recognition at the high profile award shows) and on top of that it also introduced the world to one of the finest actors of our times, the great Christoph Waltz!
This film simply is cinematic entertainment at its best!