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Inglourious Basterds


Inglourious Basterds (2009)



Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast overview: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger
Running time: 153 minutes

I'm generally a split figure when it comes to Tarantino. There's part of me that thinks he makes really good action films and there's another part of me that thinks his films are samey, predictable action flicks. On this film, I'm pretty much with the latter half. I didn't enjoy this anywhere near as much as Django Unchained, really, which I still think is the best Tarantino I've seen - out of a small handful, I'll admit. The plot centres around a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders in occupied France during World War Two, alongside a Jewish woman's plan to do the same. Hardly ground-breaking stuff, but it's solid enough at first glance.

The acting here is a real mixed bag. On the one hand, we have Christoph Waltz, who is simply fantastic, menacing, and truly believable. I also thought he was great in Django Unchained, and he's quickly become one of my favourite actors. On the other hand, we have Brad Pitt, who delivers one of the most wooden performances I've seen in a long while. He's never been a great actor, for me, but here he's just really poor, hammy, predictable. I thought Melanie Laurent was very good, and there are some other performances that I haven't picked out but which added to the film.

Unfortunately, the whole film feels patchy. There are great moments of tension - such as the effective opening scene - and then there are long moments of not very much. Could be an issue with the pacing, but it was one of the things I picked up on. Again, it wasn't boring as such, but I just feel it could have been paced in a far better way - perhaps overlong is the word I'm looking for. What I do feel with Tarantino's films is that they follow, by and large, a set formula: in Django Unchained, we had the plantation-owners and slave-traders as the enemy; here, the Nazis are the enemy; and there seems to be a similar formulaic approach to most of his films. The phrase "once you've seen one, you've seen 'em all" comes to mind.

Still, this is - despite its many weaknesses - a solid enough film, but its high placing in the IMDb top 250, coupled with its seeming rapturous response, just confuses me. There are some interesting and genuinely tense moments, but they seem to go amiss when coupled with the overdone, predictable stuff that seems prevalent here. Not bad, but not Tarantino's best, in my opinion.



Quotes
Lt. Aldo Raine: My name is Lt. Aldo Raine and I'm putting together a special team, and I need me eight soldiers. Eight Jewish-American soldiers. Now, y'all might've heard rumors about the armada happening soon. Well, we'll be leaving a little earlier. We're gonna be dropped into France, dressed as civilians. And once we're in enemy territory, as a bushwhackin' guerrilla army, we're gonna be doin' one thing and one thing only... killin' Nazis. Now, I don't know about y'all, but I sure as hell didn't come down from the ******* Smoky Mountains, cross five thousand miles of water, fight my way through half of Sicily and jump out of a ****in' air-o-plane to teach the Nazis lessons in humanity. Nazi ain't got no humanity. They're the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin', mass murderin' maniac and they need to be dee-stroyed. That's why any and every every son of a bitch we find wearin' a Nazi uniform, they're gonna die. Now, I'm the direct descendant of the mountain man Jim Bridger. That means I got a little Injun in me. And our battle plan will be that of an Apache resistance. We will be cruel to the Germans, and through our cruelty they will know who we are. And they will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of their brothers we leave behind us. And the German won't not be able to help themselves but to imagine the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives. And the German will be sickened by us, and the German will talk about us, and the German will fear us. And when the German closes their eyes at night and they're tortured by their subconscious for the evil they have done, it will be with thoughts of us they are tortured with. Sound good?
Sgt. Donny Donowitz, Pfc. Hirschberg, Pfc. Andy Kagan, Pfc. Simon Sakowitz, Pfc. Omar Ulmer, Pfc. Smithson Utivich, Cpl. Wilhelm Wicki, Pfc. Michael Zimmerman: YES, SIR!
Lt. Aldo Raine: That's what I like to hear. But I got a word of warning for all you would-be warriors. When you join my command, you take on debit. A debit you owe me personally. Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps. And all y'all will git me one hundred Nazi scalps, taken from the heads of one hundred dead Nazis. Or you will die tryin'.

Lt. Aldo Raine: Well, I speak the most Italian, so I'll be your escort. Donowitz speaks the second most, so he'll be your Italian cameraman. Omar speaks third most, so he'll be Donny's assistant.
Pfc. Omar Ulmer: I don't speak Italian.
Lt. Aldo Raine: Like I said, third best. Just keep your ****in' mouth shut. In fact, why don't you start practicing, right now!

Major Dieter Hellstrom: [in German] I must say I grow weary of these monkeyshines.
[Maj. Hellstrom cocks his Walther pistol and aims it at Lt. Hicox under the table]
Major Dieter Hellstrom: Did you hear that? That was the sound of my Walther. Pointed right at your testicles.
Lt. Archie Hicox: Why do you have your Walther pointed at my testicles?
Major Dieter Hellstrom: Because you've just given yourself away, Captain. You're no more German than that scotch.
Lt. Archie Hicox: Well, Major...
Bridget von Hammersmark: Major...
Major Dieter Hellstrom: Shut up, slut. You were saying?
Lt. Archie Hicox: I was saying that that makes two of us. I've had a gun pointed at your balls since you sat down.
[Stiglitz takes Hellstrom by the shoulder and aggressively forces a gun against his crotch]
Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz: That makes three of us. And at this range, I'm a real Frederick Zoller.
Major Dieter Hellstrom: Looks like we have a bit of a sticky situation here.
Lt. Archie Hicox: What's going to happen, Major... you're going to stand up and walk out that door with us.
Major Dieter Hellstrom: No, no, no, no, no, no. I don't think so. I'm afraid you and I... we both know, Captain... no matter what happens to anybody else in this room... the two of us aren't going anywhere. Too bad about Sergeant Wilhelm and his famous friends. If any of you expect to live, you'll have to shoot them too. Looks like little Max will grow up an orphan. How sad.
Lt. Archie Hicox: [In English] Well, if this is it, old boy, I hope you don't mind if I go out speaking the King's.
Major Dieter Hellstrom: By all means, Captain.
Lt. Archie Hicox: [picks up his glass of scotch] There's a special rung in hell reserved for people who waste good scotch. Seeing as how I may be rapping on the door momentarily...
[drinks his scotch]
Lt. Archie Hicox: I must say, damn good stuff, Sir.
[sets his glass down and smokes his cigarette]
Lt. Archie Hicox: Now, about this pickle... we find ourselves in. It would appear there's only thing left for you to do.
Major Dieter Hellstrom: And what would that be?
Lt. Archie Hicox: Stiglitz.
Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz: Say "auf Wiedersehen" to your Nazi balls.
[Stiglitz fires his gun into Hellstrom's crotch]

Trivia
Roughly only 30% of the film is in spoken English, the language which dominates the film is either French or German, with a little Italian. Chapter Three of the film 'German Night in Paris' is completely devoid of any English. This is highly unusual for a Hollywood production.

Quentin Tarantino worked on the script for almost a decade.

In a roundtable discussion with Brad Pitt and Quentin Tarantino, Tarantino said that Til Schweiger, being born and raised in Germany, had always refused to put on a Nazi uniform for a film role. The only reason he agreed to for this film was because he got to kill Nazis.

Trailer