A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Quentin Tarantino seems to be one of the most ambitious filmmakers of the modern era. His works are quite unique and so heavily stylised that he stands out from the crowd, a long, long way away.
Out of the films viewed from his already extensive repertoire, there are common themes and traits that appear to be commonplace in each. The constant element of “The Badass” immediately comes to mind. Whether it be the protagonist, the leading lady, the villain, a supporting member of cast, the story itself or simply a scene, Tarrintino’s flicks are undoubtedly ‘Badass’.
Other notable recurring features of Q.T seem to be strong feminine characters, highly graphic blood use, eccentric and gratuitous deaths, high level violence, long and extensive drawn out scenes, a strong Q.T cameo and the overall intension to push the boundaries. 2009’s “Inglourious Basterds” seems to address all this criteria, particularly the pushing of boundaries.
“Inglourious Basterds” is by far the bravest of Q.T’s films. Choosing to create a film based on true, horrific and universally known events is one thing; choosing to pursue it in a Tarrintino-style is another thing, but to have the audacity to go the complete other way and and ‘re-create’ history is simply absurd. It seems like something that only Q.T would consider, and boy does he do a good job of it!
Set during WWII, a group of Jewish-American soldiers lead by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) plan to assassinate as many Nazi soldiers with the soul intention of killing the highest ranked officers and leaders, including Hitler himself.
This group of rebellious, fixated and orchestrated Jewish men all have their back stories, which is explained more or less in great detail, each as disturbing as the next. They really are an A-Team-like supergroup of the toughest, most vicious soldiers fighting against the enemy; “The Bear Jew” (an enormous, beefed up, hairy, baseball bat wielding maniac) is just one of the many psychotic insurgents.
The supporting cast is both immense and incredible. With jaw-droppingly brilliant performances from Michael Fassbender (ironically playing an English Lt. having been born and raised Germany himself), Mike Myers (a real surprise inclusion), Daniel Bruhl, Diane Kruger, August Diehl (An incredible performance who makes the underground bar scene particularly memorable), Til Schweiger (Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz; a true psychopathic killing machine), Eli Roth (The “Bear Jew”), B.J Novak (Most commonly known as Ryan Howard form ‘The Office’) and Melanie Laurent (who’s character Shosanna is really one of the films’ lead protagonists, she is absolutely marvellous).
However, after all the brilliant and near-flawless performances of each cast member, there is one performance that stands so far above the rest and is simply unrivalled and unparalleled. A performance that landed Christoph Waltz with an Oscar as a result; Col. Hans Landa. The incredibly charming, delightful and sly Landa is the greatest villain I have ever seen in a film. Without question, his character is such a mixed bagged of emotions and personas, he is so convoluted and two-faced, it’s such an experience watching “The Jew Hunter” grace the screen in the manner he does.
The opening scene with Landa interrogating a Frenchman under suspicion of hiding Jews is simply incredible. His mannerisms, his accent, his body language, his scarily inviting presence, his smile, his laugh and his deceiving nature all create this savage, bestial, brutish barbaric human being with the cruelest of intentions. There has not been a more show stopping villain to grace the silver screen in the way Landa does, there really is no comparison.
It was fantastic to see Waltz play another stand out supporting role in Q.T’s followup to “Inglourious Basterds”, 2012’s “Django Unchained”. It would be wonderful to see a Scorsese/De Niro relationship form as a result of Hans Landa, we can only hope for the best.
This is Tarrintino’s best film in my opinion. With the hype over “Django Unchained” and the endless references to Q.T’s most recognisable feature “Pulp Fiction” dominating the limelight when discussing Tarrintino, “Inglourious Basterds” seems to get lost and set back in the line, which is highly unfair to what is a contemporary masterpiece.
It’s superb form start to finish; the first viewing is mind blowing, the second viewing makes you appreciate the idea of it all, and the third view makes you focus on the magnificent performances. An original, quirky and modern take on history that is above all brave, bold and valiant.