2000s

Published on August 26th, 2009 | by Chris

11

Inglorious Basterds (2009)

War Movie by:
Quentin Tarantino

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On August 26, 2009
Last modified:October 5, 2012

Summary:

Apart from the quite stylish ending, a good performance from Christoph Waltz as Landa, and the eventual appearance of said banter near the end, I just didn't like the whole package. A "war movie" its not, that's for sure.

Inglourious BasterdsTo quote my favorite cartoon horse.... "Hmm.  No sir, I don't like it!"

A renegade bunch of Nazi hunters loose in pre-invasion Germany? What could make for a better war movie?!  Yeah, if only that's what the movie was about.  It's not.  Actually I'm still trying to figure out what this movie is actually about, except as a cinema-snob-fan circle jerk.  And even that doesn't quite cover it.

You've got Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) the leader of "The Basterds", which are the aforementioned Nazi hunters.   They make themselves known early on, and then basically disappear for most of the film.  Tarantino even "sets up" a couple of them as "legends", like "The Bear Jew" (Eli Roth) and "Hugo Stiglitz" (Til Schweiger)...  but then really doesn't do much of anything with them.  What?  Oh, right, they're supposed to mirror the infamous German war hero Frederick Zoller (Daniel Brühl), I get it, I think...  Erm, K.  Then there is the endless stretches of subtitled dialogue.  Building the story, but endless.

I do, however, *get* the ending, at least as I see it.  The lone survivor of the "Jew Hunter" Landa gets her revenge by burning the German high command alive in her theatre (whoops I spoiled it, damn.)  I will say that visually, anyway, this was a fine ending (albeit rather short) to an otherwise muddy and convoluted film.  In a way it also makes an under-the-table statement about "war movies" (and maybe a passing shot at Audie Murphy?) as the German high command and its guests applaud and laugh as the war hero Zoller, played by himself, snipes endless GI's from the bell tower....

Unlike other of Tarantino's work, where the myriad of seemingly out of place vignettes finally gel together at the end, or somewhere in between even, here they all seem rather fruitless.  What's the point of the English infiltrator if all he's going to do is be a prop for a "yer busted!" scene and instantly killed?  Hugo Stiglitz?

We're also given endless visual and obvious nods to 30's and 40's foreign cinema, up to and including the aptly named "Operation Kino" (German for "cinema") .... how transparent can you get?  Fuel for the "*fawn* Tarantino is such a film scholar *fawn*" crowd I suppose.

Yawn.  I will say that most of the other reviews I've read seem to be from the "OMG its Tarantino! it must be good!" school.  "His best yet!" "A vision!"  Yeah, I like what he's done in the past, but I'm not feeling Basterds.  Yeah it totally rewrites the ending of the war, and I'll let him have that.  Marketing this film around Pitt's character certainly was misleading, to say the least.

Oh, and the "incredible graphic violence" everyone seems to crow about?  In the few scenes where anyone is actually getting shot at or beat up, it really ain't all that.  Brutal? Absolutely, but not in any particularly shocking fashion.  Not only that, but it isn't contained in that Tarantino-ish comedic bubble, at least that I noticed.  Also mostly missing is the usual at-times-philosophical "banter" between characters that makes his pictures something different.

Apart from the quite stylish ending, a good performance from Christoph Waltz as Landa, and the eventual appearance of said banter near the end, I just didn't like the whole package.  A "war movie" its not, that's for sure.  Much like this review has wound up, Inglourious Basterds just seems somewhat incoherent and inconsistent to me.  It definitely has its moments, but I guess I'm not seeing the big picture.  A soundtrack that ranges from the Morricone-styled first act to the wtf-out-of-place David Bowie near the end doesn't help matters.  Somebody tell me what I'm missing.  First Act: Excellent, Last Act: Excellent, all points in between: no.

Oh, and the only thing Inglourious Basterds shares with its nearly identically titled older Italian cousin is just that, the name.  And I mean the only thing.

I'm sure I'll hear from the Tarantino fanboys on this one....  Handing out five inglourious stars out of ten, three for the visual impact of the film's climax alone, and two for Waltz.

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Description

Brad Pitt takes no prisoners in Quentin Tarantino’s high-octane WWII revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds. As war rages in Europe, a Nazi-scalping squad of American soldiers, known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” is on a daring mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich...

DVD Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: Universal
Manufacturer: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Brad Pitt
  • Mike Myers
  • Cristoph Waltz
  • Michael Bacall
  • Bo Svenson

Features

  • Condition: New
  • Universal Studios
  • Rating: R (restricted)

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Inglourious Basterds [Blu-ray]
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Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection (Reservoir Dogs / True Romance / Pulp Fiction / Jackie Brown / Kill Bill: Vol. 1 / Kill Bill: Vol. 2 / Death Proof / Inglourious Basterds) [Blu-ray]
Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection (Reservoir Dogs / True Romance / Pulp Fiction / Jackie Brown / Kill Bill: Vol. 1 / Kill Bill: Vol. 2 / Death Proof / Inglourious Basterds) [Blu-ray]
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Inglorious Basterds (2009) Chris

Summary: Apart from the quite stylish ending, a good performance from Christoph Waltz as Landa, and the eventual appearance of said banter near the end, I just didn't like the whole package. A "war movie" its not, that's for sure.

2.5


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



11 Responses to Inglorious Basterds (2009)

  1. IBLver says:

    You are an idiot for not understanding this movie or any of the meaning or irony. Thats all.

  2. Chris says:

    maybe someone can explain the “meaning” and “irony” that I’m not seeing then? I’m all ears.

  3. Mike says:

    The formal review of the blog is spot on!

    This movie is not worth a full admission, wait and watch it on video. Violent? Hardly, more bodies, blood and gore and a lot more irony in the final Rambo movie out last year.

    What’s Tarantino’s real intention? SEX IN THE CAR! Yes, sex in the car, you watch the first scene of the movie (30 minutes) and then get to second base, she’s hot to trot, and you do the nasty for the next 1 hour 45 minutes, then you watch the final scene of the movie (15 minutes) and go home. Perfect drive-in movie sex! Except where are the drive in movie theaters? Oops! Sucks, Quentin did you forget?

    The problem is this film is waaaaaayyyyyyy too long. Maybe if about 40 minutes of the film ended up on the cutting room floor, the chapters and the scenes would have had a lot more bite for indoor movie fans.

    I am sure Tarantino lovers will fawn all over this film but its hardly worth the effort, its mostly a dud, a good reason why studio’s had talented film editors in the old days, to make gold out of tedious crud.

  4. Ian Sassoon says:

    Your review is way too harsh. You should lighten up, it was a lighthearted film that I thoroughly enjoyed.

  5. Luke says:

    whoever wrote this review is clearly an idiot.

    Based mainly on: ‘Then there is the endless stretches of subtitled dialogue’

    Firstly the movie is set in continental europe, how much english do you think they spoke? I know you’re probably american, but someone has to tell you that the second world war wasn’t just between team USA and the bad guys… So they spoke other languages.

    Secondly if you spoke either german or french (or even tried to have someone explain it to you) you’d appreciate the humour and how accurately and carefully the dialogue has been put together.

    Finally I’ll say that your review just stinks of a 17 year old secondary school film ‘expert’ trying to gain cult status by criticising a popular and successful film.

    Finally the comment you

  6. Chris says:

    Like I said, explain it to me. 1) Really? They don’t speak English on the continent? Thanks for clearing that up, professor. I had no idea. 2) Actually I have taken some German and French, but no, I’m fluent in neither, nor should that be a pre-requisite for watching a film.

    Still waiting for someone to explain the “meaning” I keep hearing about. I will, of course, check it out again when it hits store shelves in a couple of weeks. Don’t expect my opinion to change much, though.

  7. Luke says:

    Its not a prerequisite to be able to speak German or French, but making a criticism based purely on the fact that most of the movie is subtitled just makes you seem fairly idiotic.

    Its a welcome change from the years of hollywood movies in which the german ‘bad guys’ just speak english with a german accent.

    Das Boot had subtitles to you know, and a load of them. But you don’t read many negative reviews. Think on son.

  8. Chris says:

    Ah, Luke, now you’re putting words in my mouth. I have no problem with subtitles, matter of fact I’d much, much rather read subtitles than, as you say, listen to bad accents or even worse, dubs. Read around the site a bit. I might (and usually do) call the subs out in a review, but just as a matter of fact, as I’ve done here. You and I might appreciate it, but we’re sadly in the minority. The subtitles are hardly at issue.

  9. Atlas says:

    Well, I must be related to the reviewer or something, cuz I didn’t quite “get” it either. The subtitles didn’t bother me, the “violence” didn’t bother me, I think I expected it to be funnier, ala “Pulp Fiction”.. I suppose it was about the Holocaust and really there’s not a lot of humor to be found there. It was a Tarantino, for better or for worse, I guess. But to fanboy it and “OMG IT’S A TARANTINO!!!” is akin to seeing a really fugly pair of shoes in the window at Nordstroms and flipping out “OMG I HAVE TO HAVE THOSE!!” because they’re Jimmy Choos, even though, well, they’re fugly.

    So, it wasn’t a complete waste of 2+ hours of my time, but I won’t be buying the Blu-Ray disc or anything. Yay Blockbuster… I get to return it and I’m only out $6. 🙂

  10. Jac says:

    Well I beg to differ. I really enjoyed watching this but I’ll need to soak it in a few more times before I can give it a rock solid verdict.

    The only other times this has happened to me with QT movies was Jackie Brown which threw me initially as lacking that QT spark but has risen to almost the top of the pile after Reservoir dogs and Pulp Fiction.

    Also Kill Bill 2 was strangely dull after the full throttle action of part 1

    Anyway there’s so much action in Inglorious Basterds even if some of it didn’t initially sit quite right with me.

  11. Pingback: Tarantino Planning ‘Basterds’ Sequel? | War Movie News

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