Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review: 'Inglourious Basterds' for Tom Magazine

For Tom Magazine.

Inglourious Basterds
Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Melanie Laurent
Reviewed by Anna Angel.

We’ve all come to expect certain things from a Tarantino film. Gore, gore, witty dialogue between intense and over-dramatised characters, and gore. This time around, he gives audiences all the basic ingredients, plus a good dose of humour and satire. Quentin Tarantino presents WWII history, and it is much more interesting than the original.

Inglorious Basterds opens in France, where Jewish girl, Shosanna Dreyfus, brilliantly played by Melanie Laurent, witnesses the execution of her family at the hands of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. The story follows the revenge of Shosanna, now hiding in Paris, and the Nazi-killing duties of The Basterds, a guerrilla squad of Jewish avengers from the US, lead by Lt Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). The action picks up when a Nazi propaganda film premiere is to be held at Shosanna’s own movie theatre, giving her the chance to exact her revenge.

From the outset it is often dialogue-driven, and sometimes slow moving, but continually gripping. There are definite moments of heightened action, and slower-paced scenes with underlying tensions. Despite this light and shade, almost every minute of this two and a half hour film is worthwhile. At least, I can honestly say it felt like the fastest two and a half hours of my life. Tarantino, as always, isn’t afraid to shock, and the result is levels of gore that will have you covering your eyes; those uncomfortable with bloody violence need not apply.

While the characters of Raine and Landa are comical, exaggerated and fundamental to the success of the film, they are dangerously shallow stereotypes. This is a brilliantly funny and shocking film if taken satirically, as the quest for revenge seems to negate all humanity, with both the Nazis and their avengers portrayed as bloodthirsty and unforgiving. Tarantino makes no attempt to be historically accurate, favouring juicy, fictitious drama over the facts, perhaps another reason why this film shines when taken lightly. Inglourious Basterds is in cinemas now.

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