Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"I Finally Saw Inglourious Basterds!"

"We have a German here who wants to die for his country. Oblige him."-Aldo Raine
 So day two of my movie challenge was exponentially better than day one. I watched Inglorious Basterds directed by Quentin Taratino. I have to say, the more time I spend watching this man's films, the more I come to like what I see. Honestly, he is moving towards the Fincher/Nolan/Burton realm in my mind which is a pretty darn special place to be. I'm angry that it took me so long to see so many of his films.
Chapter One ("Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied France") was a great way to start the film. It immediately revealed Landa's character and gave the viewer just a small taste of what to expect from Christoph Waltz. His performance in this film was wonderful and completely deserving of an Oscar. Not only does he manage to speak four different languages, but he manages to play crazy in a way that would make Jack Nicholson proud.
The camera work by Taratino was amazing; the pan to the Jews hiding beneath the floorboards made my heart pound. Combined with the music that swells to a tremendous climax, I was hooked from the very beginning. There was a wonderful feeling of anticipation and dread that accompanied the scene and wove through the rest of the film.
Chapter two ("Inglorious Basterds") with the introduction of the basterds was the point in my notebook (because yes, I was taking notes) that I wrote that I was starting to fall in love with Taratino. The casting continued to be phenomenal. I am always surprised by Brad Pitt despite the fact that he is one of my favorite actors and in my opinion, never fails to deliver. The first scalping scene was just bloody enough that it got its point across, but not bloody enough that I needed to avert my eyes. I won't say I enjoyed the violence, but there is some form of aesthetic pleasure that comes from seeing the rush of red filling the screen.
 Chapter three ("German Night in Paris") introduced my favorite character, Shosanna Dreyfus played by the talented Melanie Laurent. Even with the performances of the men around her, Laurent shone. She managed to be both strong, fierce, terrified, and striking all at the same time.
Chapter four ("Operation Kino") was one of those moments of the film that managed to surprise me. I thought, wrongly, that well known actors would be protected from the violence. How wrong I was. I only got to enjoy Michael Fassbender for one scene before his untimely demise. I thought him and the others would be saved and in a normal film they would have, but I forgot, this is no normal film.
Chapter five ("Revenge of the Giant Face"), who's title I just understood now, was the perfect ending to the film. It managed to be funny, violent, and satisfying all at the same time. Again, Taratino does not play by the rules; he completely changes history, but in the best way possible.
I loved this film; it managed to feel both old and new at the same time. The setting and costumes were appropriate to the time period along with the story itself, but the filming techniques like having a narrator, chapter titles, and name tags for some of the characters, made the film feel fresh. It was not just another war film. (I have seen plenty of those, I took a class called "Cinema at War" which was great). Inglorious Basterds managed to capture the spirit of the war film and at the same time elevate it to new heights.
Review: No Milk Needed. At all.

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