Movie Details

Inglourious Basterds

"Inglourious Basterds" begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). She narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema. Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organises a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of vengeance. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds," Raine`s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own.

Language: English
Subtitle: No Subtitle
Classification: M18
Release Date: 17 Sep 2009
Genre: Action / War / Western
Running Time: 2 Hours 32 Minutes
Distributor: United International Pictures
Cast: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Format: 2D

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

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Watch this if you liked: "Sin City”, “Grindhouse”, “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”

If you are part of the camp who thinks that Quentin Tarantino hasn't made anything decent since "Jackie Brown" and that "Inglourious Basterds" may just mark his return to form after that double feature fiasco he called "Grindhouse", then you'll be as disappointed as the Germans who lost the war. The celebrated director's latest is a shallow comic book reimagining of WWII with improbable characters and romantic (if barbaric) scene resolutions - but devoid of the many things that made his signature "Pulp Fiction" such an enjoyable piece of entertainment.

As soon as Ennio Morricone's opening track plays, you're assured it's Tarantino time - but this addition to his illustrious catalogue of cult films cannot be seen as something that matches his usual high standards of fun but culturally important landmark films; instead it's "Dirty Dozen" in Nazi France, starring violent scalp-collecting Jews with little character development and moral depth. Of course, this isn't as bad as the totally indulgent, in-universe references in "Grindhouse" but the appeal of "Inglourious Basterds" is limited to well-composed fantastical sequences and intermittent clever dialogue. It's like watching "Pulp Fiction" or "Reservoir Dogs" alright, only that the sharpness is skewing towards the objects of torture rather than wordsmithery, not to mention that monologues are so 1994.

We can at least take consolation that the acting is top notch. Brad Pitt doesn't seem to be having a lot of fun as Lt. Aldo Raine (leader of the U.S. Nazi-killing outfit who make bludgeoning human heads and carving skin Swastikas a Jewish past time) but he delivers a commanding male lead all the same. The female "Basterds" are a Jewish farmgirl played by Paris-born Melanie Laurent and a celeb spy played by German-born Bridget Kruger, who add Euro excitement to the picture, along with a young German officer played by Daniel Bruhl. The standout performance though, belongs to Christoph Waltz as the menacing Jew Hunter, a prime example of well-groomed and polite men of power who can speak four languages and threaten your life with vivid proverbs. He deservingly picked up Best Actor at Cannes for this turn and it looked like he could execute The Final Solution a few times over, just for laughs.

Sadly, America's critical acclaim for this movie is best summarised as perhaps a nod to their admiration for European sophistication (since Tarantino has packaged it accessibly and masterfully) and also a general thirst for anything Tarantino. "Inglourious Basterds" is already his highest grossing movie ever, both Stateside and worldwide. That's a surprise, considering Americans are usually adverse to heavily-subtitled films. For the rest of us who expect more from Tarantino, watching a great character like the Bear Jew (he does nothing after a grand intro) is a regrettable experience that brings us back to the days when Samuel L. Jackson last recited Ezekiel 25:17 and gave us something we could talk about for years until the next World War.


Cinema Online, 12 October 2009
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only