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*** Official "INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS" Review Thread

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#1 of 26 Timothy E

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Posted July 28 2009 - 12:01 PM

Inglourious Basterds is the new film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.  Its running length is 2 hours and 32 minutes and is rated R by the MPAA.  This film has reportedly been re-edited from the version shown to critics at Cannes earlier this year.  That information comes from Eli Roth, who plays one of the "basterds" in the film, and who was present at a preview screening in San Diego on July 25, 2009.
Inglourious Basterds is the story of Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), leader of a group of Jewish American soldiers fighting a guerilla war behind enemy lines in France circa 1944.  The basterds' mandate is to kill as many Nazis as humanly possible and collect the dead Nazis' scalps for their leader, Lieutenant Raine, aka Aldo the Apache, who insists that every soldier in his command collect 100 scalps.  Diane Kruger plays German actress Bridget von Hammersmark, an undercover agent who assists the basterds by using her role in German high society to help infiltrate the German High Command.
Tarantino has stated in interviews that one of his literary heroes is Elmore Leonard.  Tarantino has previously adapted the Leonard novel Rum Punch into the film Jackie Brown in 1997.  That influence is apparent in this film as the competing agendas of the various characters connect by serendipity and by planning into a final showdown, just as in the best of Leonard's novels.  This film is inspired by Enzo G. Castellari's 1978 film, Inglorious Bastards, although this version has an original story and is not a true remake.  Bo Svenson, star of the Castellari film, has a small cameo in Tarantino's film.  Castellari himself also has a small role as a Nazi in this film, just as he did in his own film.
Inglourious Basterds makes no attempt to hew to historical accuracy, yet the film is so well executed and it gives such an impressive illusion of historical accuracy that you can be forgiven if you fail to realize its deliberate historical inaccuracies until very late in the film.  This illusion is enhanced by the dialogue being spoken in the appropriate language in the appropriate place, be it English, French, or German, with subtitles provided in English where appropriate.  (Tarantino actually toys with this storytelling convention early in the movie to make an amusing joke of it.)  Inglourious Basterds uses the history of World War II as a starting point to tell its own rollicking fun adventure story and historical accuracy be damned!  In this instance, that is a good thing as this film rarely fails to entertain.  Of course, anyone with a knowledge of history knows that the basterds and German actress Bridget Von Hammersmark are fictional creations, but without giving spoilers, the deliberate historical inaccuracies do not end there.
Inglourious Basterds is broken down into chapters with each chapter having a different style of music score.  The score in the first chapter has a Spaghetti western flavor, and there is a later chapter with a contemporary music score.  It is a testament to Tarantino's skills that the different styles of the chapters are not discordant;  rather, the chapters flow together into a compelling narrative that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino's best film since Pulp Fiction.  It is a Dirty Dozen for the 21st Century.  Rumor has it that Tarantino has developed a treatment for a prequel that would show the backstory of how the basterds came together.  I hope the rumor is true and we will see more of the basterds in the future.  Inglourious Basterds opens nationwide on August 21.
Edited by Timothy E - 7/31/2009 at 07:27 pm GMT

#2 of 26 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 31 2009 - 04:12 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Inglorious Basterds". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

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Posted August 21 2009 - 01:16 AM

I was nervous seeing this. Death Proof was a major disappointment, it felt all talk and no fun compared to the joyful Planet Terror; and my first experience with Kill Bill had left me scarred and distrustful of Quentin. I guess I thought I knew who he was after P.Fiction, R.Dogs and J.Brown; and probably all I wanted from him was witty dialogue. I guess I hadn't really paid attention to the other aspects of those films which QT has chosen to indulge long-term 1) they're all genre-exploitation 2) they all feature Surprise Symphony pacing, with long stretches that lull you into a sense of comfort, then sudden climaxes, of which several of his finest to date are contained in Inglourious Basterds.

Even though I love Kill Bill now, and plan to never see Death Proof again, I decided to expect nothing from Inglourious Basterds. I decided that even if I didn't like it, I might grow to like it some day. Basically, all my fears were unnecessary. IB is an immediately satisfying and mature work of art, with incredible pacing and structure, and stories that pay off big time.

More than anything else, IB demonstrates, perhaps just how mch restraint QT is capable of. The moments are wrought with such

Also, QT has finally given us some real characters, who seem to think and feel things. (Though obviously with a Tarantino-style panache). And damn it we really care what happens to them; which is something I don't think I've ever felt during one of his movies. This is landmark maturity from a director who has usually sacrificed sentiment for style. Not that this is a sentimental movie; God no. But I'll leave all of that up to your experience. Save to say that unless you're a bit squeamish and don't like violence at all, you'll want to see what Quentin Taratino has made for you. 

As someone who was a big fan of early Quentin; and hesitant follower of the Kill-Bill saga, IB finally makes Quentin into a fully-rounded and satisfying filmmaker; his most mature work to date, sacrificing none of his flair and style. Should go down in the books as his best film, if not as historically important as Pulp Fiction.

#4 of 26 mattCR


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Posted August 21 2009 - 03:53 AM

I have no idea what to say for this.  I went in with medium hope for the film, the idea sounded good, a fantasy based vehicle set in WWII.. and what we got was a complex, tough narrative - realize, almost 1/2 or more of the film is in subtitles - and not a single person in a packed theater even mentioned.

The film had a certain joy & zeal in the payback, a re-writing of history that plays out like an incredible fantasy of how so many wished things would have went.  There were moments in this film that were of shocking brilliance.  "The Jew Hunter" maybe one of the most menacing, unique characters I've seen in a film this year.  Meanwhile, the basterds themselves were mostly archetypes - but great ones - that allowed people in the audience to imagine the riteous fury they had.

It's very hard to say a morbid type film has a certain level of justice to it, but Tarantino pulls it off in a way that has you rotating between cheering, gasping, and rooting on the basterds. 

As a filmmaking effort, this is easily the best cinematography I've ever seen Quentin use.  The views of WWII era Paris, the German landscape, the theater.. the camera was dead on for the entire presentation, I couldn't have asked for better shots.

 As the theater burns, and the smoke lifts into the air, allowing her vision from the camera to be seen in pieces against the hard smoke while the screen burned is maybe the most effective image I've seen in a film to express rage

I don't think a film will come along this year that will replace "Up!" as my favorite for the year as an effort in film.. but this is right up there.  Easily in my top five for the year.

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#5 of 26 TravisR


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Posted August 21 2009 - 06:51 AM

I've loved every movie that Tarantino has ever made (I don't care what anyone says, Death Proof is massively underrated) and this one is no exception. It's wonderfully written and directed, funny, exciting and violent at certain points, well acted and it has a great use of music. Plus, I don't think you can go wrong with a movie where the phrase

"...look upon the face of Jewish vengeance" is uttered.

And listen close for Harvey Keitel.

Sadly, I'm sure this movie will drop like a stone next week due to the predominance of subtitles, all the talking (like every other Tarantino movie ever made and probably ever will be made) and that all the action is in the trailers and commercials.

#6 of 26 Michael Elliott

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Posted August 21 2009 - 09:48 AM

I guess I'll be Mr. Negative (along with the 30+ people I saw it with).

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#7 of 26 Shad R

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Posted August 21 2009 - 03:32 PM

Michael, were we watching the same movie?
I loved every minute of it.  It's exciting, intense, fun and at times completely hilarious! Brad Pitt gives a great performance and Waltz plays menacing "Jew Hunter" with a spark of insanity that really makes you hate him, but you can't wait to see what he'll say or do next.
Even the slower moments in the film are shot with great care, and you can tell QT loves all things cinematic. 
There are a few images that will stick with me for a while, and I'm sure you'll know which ones I'm talking about when you see the film.  Overall, this one is right up there with Up and Star Trek as my favorite movies of the year.

#8 of 26 Michael Reuben

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Posted August 21 2009 - 05:20 PM

Reminder: This is an Official Review Thread. Anything other than a review will be deleted.
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#9 of 26 Robert Crawford

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Posted August 22 2009 - 11:52 AM

This is my favorite film of the summer and it may be my favorite Tarantino film, but it has to survive multiple viewings first before I give it that rating right now.  I thought Pitt, Waltz and Bruhl were excellent and Laurent reminded me of a young Nastassja Kinski.




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#10 of 26 Bryan^H



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Posted August 22 2009 - 02:03 PM

  Tarantino has my respect. He makes films the way he wants them made. When I entered the theater(early to catch all the previews) it was already filling up fast. By the time the film started, it was a packed house. I didn't know what I was in for. I've always fancied Tarantino films, if for anything his well written dialog and his unusual pacing for movies always has me hooked. Before the credits came up a vintage Universal studios logo graced the screen. The credits started rolling to a beautiful musical piece(The Green Leaves of Summer) as I had expected, Tarantino knows just the right music to use in his films.

Now, judging from the theatrical trailer you'd think this was a Brad Pitt vehicle from the beginning to end. Not even close. I think it would be a kind estimate to say he was in 45 minutes of the film(it runs 2 1/2 hours). No, the story is mainly about a Jewish gal named Shoshanna. A survivor (hiding her Jewish heritage) in France just waiting for the Nazi rule to end. NOTE: The film is basically spoken in French/German with english subtitles which was also a huge surprise for me.

When Shoshanna finds out the German high command(including Hitler) and many Nazi soldiers want to use the movie theater which she inherited for a propaganda Nazi film premiere, she is shocked. Her entire family was killed by the Germans years before, and she devises a plan for revenge.

Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Rain is superb. Every line he speaks in the film is great. I wish he were in it a little more. He commands the Basterds. A group of Jewish soldiers dropped into Nazi-occupied France to brutalize, and kill Nazis. Demoralize them so to speak. They do their job all too well, even taking scalps from dead Nazi officers.

I have to admit, the film seemed to drag a little toward the half-way mark. I guess I was just hoping to see more of Brad Pitt's character instead of the Shoshanna storyline. No worries though, by the time the final chapter(Like Kill Bill it's divided up into chapters)"The revenge of the Giant Face" I was captivated. It starts with a great song by David Bowie that sets the tone, and dreamlike quality of the finale absolutely perfectly.
I felt like I was watching a French new wave film. Very un-Hollywood like.

Inglorious Basterds is on the verge of becoming my favorite Tarantino film. After I see it again, I'm sure it will be.

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#11 of 26 Patrick Sun

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Posted August 23 2009 - 04:17 AM

Sometimes a long running time is good if the writer/director makes good use of the time, but in the end, for me, "Inglourious Basterds" ran far longer than needed, and short-shrifted the viewers with pertinent backstories of characters who turned into plot devices far too many times for my tastes. 

The underlying thread for the plotline is that German-occupied France has seen horrific war atrocities from the Nazis towards the Jews, and a squad of Inglourious Basterds (mainly enlisted or recruited Jews) has been dispatched to turn the tables on the Nazis.  The IB are led by Aldo Raines (Brad Pitt), and they make their mark on the war efforts.  Unfortunately, their actual screentime is limited, or far too passive in certain chapters, which play out as a series of a game of Gotcha!

Quentin Tarantino still needs an editor who will chop out so much lengthy dialogue that meanders, yeah, sure, there's a point in it all, but rarely a large enough point to make it worth its running time.  And yes, that's QT's cinematic signature, but eventually he'll figure out that less is more at times.  With the chapter vignettes outlining the film, the film just starts and stops and looses narrative drive on many ocassions.

Easily, this is a 2-hour film given its plotline and focus, but it runs a good 30 minutes too long.  Plus Quentin so loves his musical choices, it gets repetitive in how he'll build to a climax of a scene and employs unsubtle musical cues to get there.  The build-up of tension in the first chapter was solid (though the scene just would never end, it seemed), but then it sort of gets away from QT in subsequent chapters.  By the time the film gets to its final chapter, it simmers to underwhelming boiling effect for its conclusion (it's almost Mel Brooks-esque in comedic undertones).

That being said, I enjoyed staring at Melanie Laurent (Shoshanna), and Christoph Waltz's Landa is sure to pick up a Best Supporting Actor nomination (as he looked like he had a lot of fun with his game of Gotcha!).  Brad Pitt's character was somewhat under-utilized, but Pitt mined almost every line of dialogue for solid dramatic or comedic effect.  The rest of the supporting cast was hit-or-miss for me, some stood out in a good way, while others did not.

Overall, I think I liked about 75%-80%, so I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.

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#12 of 26 Todd H

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Posted August 23 2009 - 12:26 PM

Tarantino saves the summer for me. After crap like Transformers and GI Joe, it was nice to see a movie that's more than nonstop CGI and explosions. 4/5 stars.

#13 of 26 Chuck Mayer

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Posted August 24 2009 - 01:43 AM

IB was a very interesting experience.  I viewed Valkyrie a few weeks back, and in the intervening time between that viewing and seeing IB yesterday, read up on my Third Reich.  That became an emotionally exhausting decision, as there is little of the Hollywood romance with Nazis (and it is a romance with their propaganda, not their ideals) in the truth.  This led to my bout of "empty calories" with IB.

The film is made with extreme skill at every level.  Gorgeous to look at, fun to listen to, very tense, and intermittently powerful, I loved watching the film.  Some of the performances are great, the structure is outstanding, and the time period (or our/Hollywood's view of the time period) is captured with an amazing eye for detail.  I was hooked from the opening sequence.

I won't relate the many pleasures of the film, though they are many.  I even appreciated the audacity of the ending.

But therein lies my issue.  The film has no resonance with me.  It is an amusing period fantasy, no more.  It's villains are caricatures at best, even the brilliantly played Hans Landa.  So while I believe QT was going for a little cinematic catharsis, there is none to be had.

But it is bravura filmmaking, no doubt.


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#14 of 26 Brett_M



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Posted August 25 2009 - 11:31 AM

Loved it.  Can't stop thinking about it.  Tarantino's finest film to date.  (A part of me wishes it was more like The Dirty Dozen but that's been done already.  This is a unique, mature work of cinema, one that will stand the test of time.)

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#15 of 26 Joe Karlosi

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Posted August 25 2009 - 02:14 PM

I'm kind of close with Michael Elliott on this one.

Saw it with my 18 year-old nephew (it was his second time - he loves it) this evening. I will have to see it another time before really commiting myself, but it was only so-so to me right out of the gate. I still don't feel it will come close to replacing PULP FICTION or the KILL BILL Epic as 'my' favorite Tarantino film.

It had its moments. I especially liked Christoph Waltz as the Colonel, and Brad Pitt was fun, even if he struck me as blatantly fake.

I'm the last guy in the world to only want a "nonstop action ride" with no development, but this film seemed to go overboard on the talkiness. I don't think Quentin has been able to match the interesting dialogue he mastered in PULP FICTION and, to a lesser extent, RESERVOIR DOGS. The card game sequence struck me as excruciating this first time; maybe I'll catch some nuggets the next time. The movie on a whole seemed unnecessarily long and a bit messy. But the "money shots" delivered as a Tarantino film should.

The ending "payoff" felt lacking to me.

I gotta say I was semi-impressed with my nephew (I say "semi" because he's a bright college student and so I wasn't completely surprised) ... he loved the movie so much and I would have thought someone his age would have been bored by reading so many subtitles for so long and being subjected to so much chit chat (I was more bored than he was!). So there --- that goes to prove I don't stereotype "all" younger people these days.

I have to admit one thing. I always say that I practically NEVER run into a theater situation where people are ruining the movie for me, but it happened tonight. There were a couple of old, white-haired ladies sitting in front of me and during the trailers before the film they were complaining: "My, these movies are so violent today!". I couldn't resist mumbling back to them: "Then you're here for the wrong movie!" .. I don't know whether they heard me or not.

Then off to the distant right I could hear a guy talking and talking in a deep (and frankly, intimidating) voice all during the "bar scene". I found myself getting annoyed by his lack of consideration, and found that I was missing a lot of the exchange dialogue that I should have been reading in the "card game" sequence, rather than listening to this moron. I'm guessing he was talking because he was bored and probably didn't have the attention span to deal with these scenes, and the subtitles. So in all fairness I really didn't get the most out of this sequence. So I'll try again on DVD.

#16 of 26 SteveJKo


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Posted August 26 2009 - 02:34 AM

Originally Posted by Todd H 

Tarantino saves the summer for me.....
And for me too Todd. Saw this just last night in a packed theater. The average age of the crowd was probably around 19 (and that's only because my aged presence brought it up a notch or two). Seems like there's so much discussion about young audiences only wanting CGI based action films. It was great to see that they had no problem with long stretches of dialogue or the 70 per cent use of subtitles.

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#17 of 26 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 26 2009 - 03:18 AM

One would tend to think less of a film from Tarantino that
was mostly dialogue-based and filled with subtitles, but I
thought that Inglorious Basterds was absolutely brilliant! 

Hard to say if this was Tarantino's finest film.  Probably 
best to say that it was the one that shows how much he
has matured as a director.  It's truly engaging to watch 
his characters churn out such cleverly worded dialogue.  
Closing in at 2.5 hours, the film never felt as if it extended
its welcome. In fact, I was sorry to see it end.

BTW, Christoph Waltz steals this film entirely.  I hope
he gets nominated for Best Actor for his performance.
Never have I seen such a bad guy performed with a bigger
smile on one's face.

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#18 of 26 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 26 2009 - 03:22 AM


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#19 of 26 Walter Kittel

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Posted August 26 2009 - 04:17 AM

Posted this over in Testy 51, so I decided to repost in the official thread...

I had the pleasure of seeing Inglourious Basterds this weekend.  Another winner from Quentin Tarantino.  It is a little early for me to rank it against his other works, but as Aldo says "This just might be my masterpiece."  It may prove to be my favorite QT film of all time; it certainly is in the running.

All of the flourishs that one expects in a Tarantino film are present - inspired dialogue, interesting characters, great use of music, unconventional storytelling mechanisms, and at least one closeup shot of a beautiful woman's foot. 

There is a shot (a very deliberate shot) of Melanie Laurent that will probably rank as one of my favorite cinematic images of all time in this film.  For myself, certain iconic images come to mind when I remember films, such as Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor's first kiss in A Place In the Sun, or the image of Kong breaking through the gates in the original King Kong.  I suspect that the shot of Laurent I described will be the lasting image of Inglourious Basterds, for me.

(The shot I am referring to is of Laurent in the flowing red dress, leaning against a wall, staring out the window.  The composition of this shot is a thing of beauty in a film filled to the brim with craftmanship.  It is simply a wonderful, gorgeous, beautiful image and it will stay with me for quite some time.)

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#20 of 26 Justin_S



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Posted August 26 2009 - 10:21 AM

This really is a stunning film. Up until Death Proof, I had hated just about everything I'd seen from Tarantino. I was most surprised when I wound up loving that film. Perhaps he's moving into a period where he's more in line with my tastes, as I loved this one too.

The theater massacre is my favorite sequence in the film. Not because of the violence. No, it's Shosanna's "movie" that gives the climax it's raw power. Her image, her words, her laugh as the Nazi's scramble like the rats Landa had previously spoken of... all seared into my mind. Most of all though, the view of the fire through the screen as it engulfs her image. There's a haunting beauty to it. She's dead at this point, but she lives on through the immortality of film to have the last laugh, the screen unable to contain her hatred, her ghostly figure projected in the smoke.

Speaking of the climax, I thought it also served as an interesting commentary on propaganda. There is a definite parallel between the Nazi's cheering for the gunning down of soldiers in "Nation's Pride" and our reaction to the gunning down of the Nazi's as they attempt to escape the theater. The Basterds are even in similar positioning, the opera box serving as their own private bird's nest.

Pitt was hilarious and Christoph Waltz deserves all the praise he's received. Diane Kruger, somewhat bland in some of the other films I've seen her in, really lights up the screen here as the German actress turned spy. Great presence. As for Roth, I like the man as a director, but his antics after clubbing the Nazi took away from that scene for me.

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