When we become nostalgic with our childhood memories and the things we loved during the days we grew up, we will reminiscent those days for a while, and then will carry on our work. At the most, we will visit a neighboring bar (or a park, for teetotalers), will gulp a few larges with old friends, and then walk away to our home to continue with our day today work. Okay. What will happen when a famous director gets nostalgic with his favorite movies from his childhood? It's unnatural to expect him to walk away just like that, and the result is 'Inglourious Basterds'.
Imagine the feel and effect of great spaghetti (can anyone suggest a different name, for a change?) westerns like 'Good, bad and the ugly' or 'A fistful of dollars' or 'Once upon a time in the west' (incidentally, all are Sergio Leone flicks). To me, watching one of these (and many more quality westerns) is like heaven. The effect it gives after watching these movies is terrific, with the mind brimming with happiness. The same effect is achieved from watching 'Inglourious Basterds'.
Saw the movie very recently in Bangalore, as it was released just now in India. I didn't want to see this one in internet or in DVD, as Quentin Tarentino is easily my most favorite director. I watched his Pulp Fiction long ago, and was astounded. From then on, started to see all his movies one by one, and he easily became the kind of director a movie buff would prefer. I mean, after watching a Tarentino flick, one would get what he wanted from the movie.
The movie begins exactly like 'Good, bad and the Ugly', where Angel face (the talented Lee van Cleef) walks in to the house of Stevens to enquire about the hidden treasure, and kills the family soon after. In fact, the first few minutes never had a single dialogue in that film (and in many other Leone flicks). The same way, we see Colonel Hans Landa walk in to the house of a frenchman and kills a family which had seeken refuge at his cellar. The only girl Shosanna, who escapes from the massacre, later on tries to avenge for her family's death.
Now, we cut to Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), recruiting a pack of Jewish – American soldiers – to kill and create panic in France by killing every German soldier who they see – in fact, every one of these soldiers must have to kill at least a hundred Germans and scalp them. They carve a Swasthik - the Nazi symbol – on the forehead of one soldier whom they decide to leave away as a survivor at every killing – to spread the terror among the Germans.
A perfect plot, where on one side, there are a pack of angry ruthless soldiers who would stop at nothing, and on the other side there is the lone survivor from a massacre, throbbing to avenge the death of her family. What will happen if both these plots collide at one common goal during the course of the film? Well, it's Inglourious Basterds, in a nutshell.
As usual, there is the elegant touch of Quentin through out the film, and he doesn't cheat his fans. Right from the tight close-up shots showing the little things (spoons, guns etc), to showing in balloons what the characters think, and showing in animated pointers the names of the characters among a crowd, Quentin pleases his fans. As usual, we see the chapter names among the scenes. We hear witty dialogues and we see the splash of blood all over.
It's an outright Quentin flick both hands down. I read in a few reviews that Quentin has lost his gifted story telling prowess, and this movie is not like his Pulp fiction or reservoir dogs. I don't think so. When a fantastic story teller becomes nostalgic about his favorite flicks, the output is a movie like this, and we must see the movie keeping this fact in mind.
The one guy who stands apart (Sounds like 'A band Apart', rite? Quentin's production house) is Christopher Waltz, who plays the role of the Nazi colonel Hans Landa. I was astonished to learn that this is his first major film ! A fantastic performance indeed. The fact that he is fluent in German, French and English adds up to his excellent performance. The character of the German colonel is not a completely sadistic one, as we see in the beginning, but is a mixture of emotions combined with a good taste and a dashing confidence, with a touch of feminine grace (might be termed as charm). Waltz has really done a waltz in the movie- the one character which makes the movie worthwhile to watch.
I remember that before a few years, I first read the movie's title in the internet, and it was gossiped that Stallone and Schwarzenegger are to star in the title roles along with Michael Madson and Mickey Rourke. I was eagerly awaiting all these years for this movie, and it didn't disappoint me. I simply loved it.
The final dialogue of the movie – which Aldo raine utters, is reminiscent of
Tarentino's take on this movie - 'You know somethin', Utivich? I think this might just be my masterpiece' – Just might be Mr. Tarentino. . But never mind. Ultimately, it's the fun ride which we need.
Inglourious Basterds – Vintage Tarentino.
See the trailer here.