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Inglourious Basterds: Has Quentin grown up?

September 3, 2009

One of the many very kool posters...

Friday night I saw the glorious Inglourious Basterds (2009). Based on a fabricated story of WW2 and the assassination of Adolf Hitler, this brilliant rewrite of history was a little different than expected, but not in a negative way, I assure you! The music was similar, Samuel Jackson was the narrator, but there was a feeling that shadowed the film. Was this Quentin Tarantino’s first grown-up film? Inglourious Basterds (2009) had a mature after taste; something that I have not experienced in other QT films. But after hearing the interview with QT about how this movie was in his head for more than a decade, I was able to understand how this film was a little different than the others. But why take so long? Why leave it on the backbench while making films like

Death Proof (2007)? There are two reasons that come to mind: QT and his fans were not ready for it and that QT wasn’t able to get away with rewriting history until now. Whatever the reason, I am happy that QT made the film. But I must inform you, if you’re not a fan of violence or scenes where the camera does not pull away at the icky bits, then this might not be the film for you….

The first scene began peacefully, at a dairy farm in France. We are presented with a perfectly green landscape; a scene that almost seems as if Tarantino copy and pasted from The Sound of Music. Col. Hans Landa (also known as the Jew Hunter) arrives at this farm with the mere purpose of finding the French-Jewish families that might be hiding at this French dairy farm. Landa speaks to the farmer respectfully in French, compliments the farmer’s three daughters, passionately illustrates his love for the farmer’s milk and then asks politely to continue the conversation in English (we find out later that changing the language to English was not only a great idea for the Western audience who don’t want to keep reading subtitles, but also so that the potentially hiding French-Jewish families could not understand the conversation). At the start of this English-based conversation, I almost convinced that Landa was a sweet man in the nazi uniform. I was almost convinced that Landa would walk out the door happily ignoring any hidden Jewish families, however, as conversation shifts and his tone remains pleasant, Landa’s words and pleasant facial gestures are almost instantly replaced by the features of a brutally cold man. Landa displays himself as the perfect gentleman among friend, then as a horrific cold bastard among suspicious men (and women).

I will stop here. I don’t want to spoil this scene for you. But what I will say is that this scene is brilliant at making the audience comfortable, then suddenly horrifying them. This scene ultimately bitch slaps the audience; waking them up to the fact that they are watching a Quenton Tarantino film; you will see pleasant highs and tragically violent lows, but what else did you expect? This scene is truly the best introduction for a dirty, graphic, and brutal film like Inglourious Basterds (2009). What I would like to add, I am amazed I have never heard of Christoph Waltz until now. Walts plays the character Col. Hans Landa, and I honestly cant think of any Hollywood actor who could have done a better job.

When watching an interview with Tarantino, Tarantino mentioned that the moment Waltz auditioned for the part, he had it, hands down. Performing in many German television shows and films, Waltz has been under the radar for too long. Guess how many languages he can speak fluently? Guess? FOUR! German, French, English and Italian. What a brilliant talent. Hope to see more of Christoph Waltz.

Last thing! My Last blog focused on little similarities from QT films. Well here are a couple more little notes to add to the list. There is a scene that features in the first half of the scene, where the inglorious basterds are standing in a forest with a handful of Nazi captives, where a song is played in the background. This song also featured in
Kill Bill Vol.2 (2004), and fits like a glove! On top of this, we all know that QT has a thing for feet! Why? Who knows? Never the less, the final scene that features the character Shosanna Dreyfus (played by Mélanie Laurent), Shosanna is shown beautifully in a blood-coloured dress, her hair fashionably styled and her skin glowing with nerves, and feet, lacking of shoes. Coincidently, Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo when she finds herself pregnant in Kill Bill Vol 2 (2004), and Thurman’s character Mia in Pulp Fiction (1994), both in her home and dancing at the 50’s styled bar, was shown shoe-less.

Till next time

S

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