Monday, January 7, 2013

Movie of the Week – Inglourious Basterds

This week’s movie: Inglourious Basterds (2009).

What if the Allies had killed Hitler and ended WWII early? Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds plays a bit like a revenge fantasy. It is split into five vignettes taking place in Nazi Occupied France that all tie together by the end.

Tarantino is one of independent film’s most celebrated directors. His films are mostly considered classics. With Inglourious Basterds, however, he made his most expensive (costing around seventy million) and subsequently most successful film to date (in terms of gross box office). He has said that it is the first part of a new trilogy, with Django Unchained being the second in the series.

Cinematographer Robert Richardson and production designer David Wasco produce brilliant work on the film, which overall is aesthetically fantastic (and maybe Tarantino’s best in that regard). The visuals (and especially the score, taken from classic westerns, war films and David Bowie) reference genre films that Tarantino grew up with.

As good as Tarantino’s writing is (and it is very good), the performances are maybe even better. The cast is universally wonderful, making stars out of a few European actors who before did not have that much exposure in the states. The ensemble includes: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz (who won an Oscar for his work), Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, Jacky Ido, B.J. Novak, Gedeon Burkhard, Omar Doom, August Diehl, Denis Menochet, and Mike Myers, with voice work from Samuel L. Jackson and Harvey Keitel.

Inglourious Basterds was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, but only won one. It is my favorite of Tarantino’s films (and among my 25 favorite films from the last decade), and a must-see for fans of Tarantino’s work and war films. It is brilliant.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray, DVD and Streaming

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