Inglourious Basterds

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(out of 5)


There’s a scene, relatively early on in this picture, when a member of the titular special elite force of Jewish American soldiers secretly operating in Germany finishes his killing of a soldier by scalping him in graphic detail for the camera to see. Director Quentin Tarantino is letting the audience know that this level of brutality is what you can expect to see for the next two hours: if you don’t like it, now’s a good time to leave. Then the spiffy American auteur shocks those bold enough to stay in their seat by reversing the expectation and presenting a film that, while still maintaining scenes of gun-blasting, knife-wielding, bomb-blowing mayhem, is mostly reliant on conversation and quiet, dramatic intensity.  plays a near-loopy S.S. bigwig who discovers a Jewish family hiding in a French country house and murders them all save their daughter (), who escapes. Later she takes over a movie theatre and, upon meeting a German Sergeant York () sees an opportunity to get revenge. Meanwhile,  leads the aforementioned force of vengeance-seeking soldiers who are plotting to end the war by killing Hitler and all his elite. Little does he know that the operation he is planning, to assassinate Hitler, Goebbels, etc. while they watch the premiere of a Nazi propaganda film in Laurent’s movie theatre, coincides with the young woman’s own designs. The film mainly plays out in a few lengthy, grounded sequences, scenes of long conversations whose innocuous nature is the familiar distraction that Tarantino provides before using guns as the surprise punchline. Individually the scenes all work very well; a basement tavern sequence with a mesmerizing  is a masterful piece, as is the climax in the cinema, but there’s something lacking. The connection of cause and effect between the events of the film is brittle at best and the end result not as emotionally satisfying as Uma Thurman’s revenge in the Kill Bill movies. It is still a worthy enterprise, even if it does feature a very silly fantasy version of historical events, and the performances are all superb; Waltz is a first among equals as the masterfully terrifying yet slightly loopy murderer who speaks five languages but can’t master the English idiom when it comes to yelling “Bingo”.


, , , ,

USA/Germany, 2009

Directed by 

Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino

Cinematography by 

Produced by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Cannes 2009


Cast Tags:  , ,, , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , ,


Academy Award
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Christoph Waltz)

Nominations
Best Cinematography (Robert Richardson)
Best Directing (Quentin Tarantino)
Best Film Editing (Sally Menke)
Best Picture (Lawrence Bender, producer)
Best Sound Editing (Wylie Stateman)
Best Sound Mixing (Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti, Mark Ulano)
Best Writing (Original Screenplay) (Quentin Tarantino)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Christoph Waltz)

Nominations
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Director (Quentin Tarantino)
Best Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino)

New York Film Critics Award
Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz)

Nominations
Best Director (Quentin Tarantino)
Best Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino)

Los Angeles Film Critics Award
Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz)

National Society of Film Critics Award
Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz) (tie)

Nominations
Best Film
Best Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino)

National Board Of Review Award
Top Ten Films

Cannes Film Festival Award
Best Actor (Christoph Waltz)

Screen Actors Guild Awards
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Christoph Waltz)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Nomination
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Diane Kruger)

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Quentin Tarantino)

British Academy Award
Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz)

Nominations
Best Screenplay (Original)
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Production Design
David Lean Award for Direction (Quentin Tarantino)

Toronto Film Critics Awards
Best Picture (tie)
Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz)
Best Screenplay (tie)

Nomination
Best Director (Quentin Tarantino)

Boston Film Critics Award
Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz)


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