Today I will be reviewing Inglourious Basterds, conceived by hollywood’s darling of violence, Quentin Tarantino. You’ve heard of him right? Well, if not where you been at? I forgive you. Now let’s move forward…
This movie, like many of Quentin’s films, isn’t structured in the typical Act 1, 2, 3 you find most movies out there are, but in 5 chapters. Kinda like a movie novel. Here is a breakdown of each chapter:
Chapter One: Once Upon a Time….. in Nazi-Occupied France
This is all one long scene, lasting just under half an hour, and takes place in the countryside somewhere in France. The whole film takes place in France, but more specifically, it takes place in a time where Hitler is in power as World War 2 is happening.
It’s an idyllic surrounding, soft meadow fields everywhere you look; quite beautiful really – it brought a tear to BEAR’s eye, let’s just put it that way. Perrier LaPadite is a farmer there, and a loving father with three daughters. It all looks like what you’d expect to find at a countryside, but then he spots in the distance men on horseback, travelling up the dirt track leading to their farmhouse. Perrier warns his daughters and they tend to something important inside the house (we don’t see what, but find out by the end of this chapter). Meanwhile, as the gunmen of horseback get terribly close to the proximity of their house, the man splashes water from a basin over his front, giving them the impression he’s been working his ass off.
The men on horseback have arrived – they’re Nazis, to be more specific. The main guy is the charismatic Colonel, Hans Landa, and no: just ’cause he’s charismatic doesn’t make him any less of an Nazi. He’s also very cock sure about how he interacts with the farmer, but gets away with this due to the dominance of his position. There is a reason for this cockiness – he is there for only one thing: to sniff out Jews that are in hiding and kill him. He’s even been given the nickname ‘The Jew Hunter’, which he boasts about to Perrier, as he squirms subtly behind his pipe. As Hans talks to the man of the farmhouse around a wooden table, and after the women leave the building to let them begin their conversation (leaving the Nazi a glass of milk), they suddenly switch to English. Again, it’s not apparent why Hans requests this change from French to English, but BEAR was thinking there must be a reason for this, other than the Nazi saying he’s ‘exhausted his French vocabulary’. That’s just doesn’t add up after he spoke so eloquently for many minutes on the screen. Hmm… BEAR doesn’t buy it – he smelled a rat instantly.
(You call that a pipe? This is a pipe!)
Speaking of rats, the colonel begins using a rat analogy to the French man, relating it to his job as a guy who has to exterminate Jews and the propaganda used by Joseph Goebbels in Nazi Germany. He eventually tells Perrier that he has only two options: you either tell me that there are Jewish people hidden under the floorboards, or you get killed and we look there for them anyway. The man concedes, telling the man in english where they are hidden by pointing to the floor where they are located. As Hans gets up to leave, he switches back to French, pretending that he is talking to the French daughters entering the house, but in fact it’s the Nazi solders entering. Then it inevitable happens and the children under the floorboards are exterminated with the relentless shootings they’d been ordered to take out.
…Except one! The eldest of the children hiding under the floorboards manages to escape through a small window and runs (literally) for her life. Colonel Hans Landa trains his gun on her as she runs through the fields towards the horizontal, but eventually decides not to shoot her. BEAR thinks this is because it would have too a helluva shot to shoot the girl from that far away, not because he just whimsically felt like not doing so.
This now completes chapter one. Intense wasn’t it? But it wasn’t just the typical intensity you find with most Tarantino films – this had……………………SUSPENSE! Who woulda funk it? But even though it is a rariety to see in a filmmaker who’s well known for A.D.D violence, you gotta hand it to him – this was a masterclass in suspense. Hitchcock might of wanted a cameo in this ’cause it was that intense (maybe he was in it – you just didn’t see them). Anyways, you’re probably wondering where does this girl who has survived should a traumatic event go? No? Well you are now. So read on and you might just find out where she ends up, and what she does (within the context of this 152 minute length film).
(The lucky one)
Chapter Two: Inglourious Basterds
We are introduced to the “Inglourious Basterds” at this point. This is a American-Jewish posse of commandos ready to kill every F’ing Nazi they come into contact with. And on top of that, their leader redneck guy (Lt. Aldo Raine) is demanding that each of his men make sure they scalp 100 of these Nazis for him. Scalping is where you take a knife and peel – like you would a potato – the top of the head off of someone. Kinda like an alive wig for the redneck – a badge of honor for the Basterds. So if you’re a Nazi and you cross paths with this motley crue, it’s turf luck!
And also in this chapter, we see Hitler, having a right rollicking at two of his insubordinates. He’s crying like an angry baby at them because he can’t understand why no-one has caught the Inglourious Basterds, as they are messing things up for him. And it doesn’t help that one of these guys were sent back by the Basterds to send Hitler a chilling message. The swastika carved into his head also sends a permanent advertisement to all those who see this guy – so even if he takes off this uniform, he cannot hide what he is.
Wait! I should back up here. Who else was at this place where this swastika headed man came from? Well, the Basterds brutally killed a small group of nazi as none of them would point onto a map where Hitler was hiding. BEAR liked the bit where the BEAR-jew came into it and baseball batted those loyal biatches to a pulp. One thing I’ll said – I wish there was more of the BEAR-jew in this film; not ’cause I share a namesake with him, but because his character deserved more scenes. Perhaps a film where we just follow the BEAR-jew around, beating up nazis would be a good idea. But I digress.
There was one nazi who would cave-in though: Private Butz. He’s such a spineless swerp that he doesn’t hesitate to tell them. I don’t blame him, after seeing what the BEAR-jew did to the guy before him.
(Bat-a bat-a bat-a swwwing!!)
Chapter Three: German Night in Paris
The girl who escaped the farmhouse in chapter one, goes by the name Emmanuelle Mimieux these days. She also owns a cinema. BEAR’s not sure how this happened as it was not shown, but BEAR’s not too bothered and understands the issues of continuity in films. Whilst standing on a ladder and taking down large lettering from the front of her cinema, a guy named Fredrick Zoller tries to woe her. This just comes off as annoying to Emmanuelle, and some enough the guy leaves. But the next day, whilst she is in a cafe, Fredrick finds her again. This pees her off somewhat – she has no interest in him and has made it clear numeros times that she just wants to be left alone. Yet as he is about to leave, people in the cafe come up to him and treat him like a celebrity of sorts. This bit also has no subtitles as they converse in the german language, and it’s not needed as the ways these people enthuse over Fredrick speaks loud enough for BEAR to understand. The girl finds out that he killed a load of people as a sniper, and now Goebbels has made a film of this – with him playing himself in the film! Goebbels regards it as his finest work to date, and wants his film to be put on there.
She says no, no, no, until she comes face to face with the nazi who got her siblings killed back at the farmhouse. BEAR finds it funny how his guy – who says he can find a jew anywhere – can’t recognise this girl is jewish, or that she was the escapee from that farm. It goes to show how ridiculous the whole racism thing is – how of us are really that different from each other. What separates a racist from a non-racist is their mentality, not the way they look. Ignorance, perhaps? Or stupidity into believing such idiotic beliefs. Why can’t the whole of humanity just stop warring with each other for whatever greedy reasons they may have as a motive, and just get the F along. BEAR means it! Sorry, this really touched a nerve with me. I’ll get back to the plot… So Emmanuelle agrees to the premiere of the film being held at her cinema. Why? Well we discover this when she meets her projectionist, Marcel, at the cinema. She tells Marcel that, firstly, they don’t want him to be the projectionist at the premiere (because he’s black), and that she agreed to it because she has a plan: to blow up the cinema with all the most powerful of nazis trapped within it. All they have to do it prepare for this plan so that it can be pulled off. The idea is that, with all the 300+ of film reels in the back room, they are going to light that up behind the cinema screen. This stuff is so flammable that, at the time, it wasn’t even allow on public transport. They also film a message Emmanuelle addresses directly to the nazis, which gets spiced onto the film’s reel, so that when the film reaches that part, it transitions into her recording.
Chapter Four: Operation Kino
A British soldier and two Basterds enter a joyous pub with german actress, Bridget Von Hammersmark. A group of people are playing a game where they stick a playing card to their head with a famous name on it, and they have to get the name by asking a series of questions, relying on the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers given to them. A guy named Wilhelm is celebrating the birth of his son there at the time as well.
A guy around the corner, reading a book, over hears the non-german bunch, who are trying to blend in, and comes over to sit with them. He questions the english guy’s accent, thinking it is highly peculiar, and this is because though the solider is speaking fluent german, you can still hear his english accent. It. Just. Sounds. Off. They copy what the table next to them are doing and play they same game they are (the ‘King Kong’ questions accumulate in what BEAR interprets as another stab are the stupidity of racism, specifically in how it wasn’t just the german’s fueling racist propaganda, but also america as well). And then the german asks the barkeeper for five drinks. One of the good guys asks for three drink, and holds up three fingers. This gives the game away – the german now knows that they are imposters because of the way he held up his fingers. German people hold up three fingers in a different way to english people, and Sherlock here, like a hawk, was perceptive enough to spot this.
Guns are thrusted at each other threateningly underneath the table, with one placed snuggly on the german’s ballbag area. And in what seems like a flash in the pan, the whole room explodes in a flurry of bullets, killing everyone except Wilhelm, who is behind the bar. The Basterd’s leader calls down from the floor above to ask if they can take Bridget Von Hammersmark with them (she’s wounded, but also still alive), and he finally agrees, once he realises he has no choice. But it didn’t matter what he said anyway because Bridget Von Hammersmark takes it upon herself to shot the newly father anyways.
Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face
The final part is want all the previous chapters were building up towards (obviously). It’s the film premiere of Goebal’s film, at Emmanuelle’s cinema. Even Hitler’s gonna be there, so you know they pulled out all the stops for this event, and then some.
Emmanuelle’s plan is all set by now. Marcel, the projectionist, is behind the screen, waiting for the signal to throw his cigarette into the as yet unlit pile of unravelled film reels, whilst Emmanuelle is upstairs in the projection room.
Meanwhile, in the lobby area, the redneck leader and two other members of th Basterds accompany Bridget Von Hammersmark to the premiere. They bump into the Nazi guy, whom already knows Bridget Von Hammersmark was at the pub massacre as she had left her bloody shoes behind. She also adorns a foot cast shaped like a stiletto, which the nazi quickly brings up into the conversation with her. She says she fell in a rock climbing accident yesterday morning. He laughs manically, knowing that she is lying. He leads her into a room for a private talk (without the Basterds), and the nazi gets Bridget Von Hammersmark to take out something from his coat pocket. It’s her old shoe! He puts it on her unwounded foot to make sure it fits (it does). And taking his opportunity, he pounces on her, making her fly backwards, and he kills her by asphyxiation.
The leader redneck and one of the other Basterds get taken away from the cinema by the Nazi, as he realises that they are not really italian filmmakers (if Brad Pitt’s hilarious accent didn’t give it away). They make a deal with the Nazi that it’ll be okay to kill everyone at the cinema, with the condition that he is given his own island and is treated like a hero by the Americans. But it’s not the Basterds would blow up the set…
The guy who’s keen on Emmanuelle gets shoot by her, and then he shoots him. Their deaths are negligible though because after Marcel throws his cigarette onto the film pile, the whole place is about to go KA-BOOM! I liked this scene, not only because of its cinematic value, but because there it is like the ultimate revenge towards the Nazis if you were to perceive the fact they were locked in a burning room as a concentration camp, giving them a taste of the insurmountable pain and suffering of what they did to millions of their fellow human beings. Not bad for a movie, eh?
I was willing to surrender into this movie, was I realised it wasn’t meant to be intended as a serious historical reenactment (BEAR hates that stuff anyways), because the payoff was so good – that Hitler and all the evil Nazis got killed and the war would therefore be over. The fact that it is not historically accurate was reflected in the mispelling of the title. Yes, Quentin maybe dyslexic, but I’m sure he knows how to use a dictionary.
The final scene is where the redneck leader of the Inglourious Basterds carves a swastika into the Nazi’s head. And though the last line – “I think this just might be my masterpiece” – was like Tarantino gloating, I would still have to say that Pulp Fiction is his masterpiece. This film was superb though, and was more managed with its killings – more time was devoted to build up and tension within scenes. This is specially so in the first chapter and the pub scene. I thought it was wonderfully done, personally speaking.
Overall, I am going to award Inglourious Basterds 9/10
Say auf wiedersehen to your nazi balls