Inglourious Basterds review – a complete mess!
In a recent interview Stephen Sommers was heard to be whinging about personal attacks to directors for their shoddy work. Well Mr Sommers, I suggest you close your ears for twenty minutes because I am about to get deeply personal to a director that some have called legendary.
This is unlikely to be an eloquent review then as I feel (on a personal level) that Quentin Tarantino and The Weinstein Company cheated me out of my £15!
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.
IGNORE the cut and pasted synopsis above! The basterds do NOT “soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl”. In fact that film that is sold to you with the information above will not be what you’ll be getting. What you are likely to expect if you have watched any trailers or clips for the latest Quentin Tarantino film is a group of Nazi-bashing thugs going around killing everything wearing a German uniform. If you expect this then you will be sorely disappointed as this strain of the plot only takes up perhaps 10% of the proceedings.
Now don’t get me wrong, the Aldo Raine-led group of basterds are surprisingly entertaining. Their antics show a certain symmetry with a German “Jew Hunter” played by Christoph Waltz. Both Waltz and Pitt are aptly played and are suitable opponents. However so little time of this overlong and uninteresting film is spent with them it might as well be called: “Badly Played Out War”. Instead, we are given the title “Inglourious Basterds” which as the director points out is misspelled due to “artistic flourish”. Apparently it has nothing to do with the fact that a correctly spelled “Inglorious Bastards” was released in 1981. Is this an attempt at hiding the fact that it is merely a remake?
I will demonstrate Quentin Tarantino’s “artistic flourish”. He manages to give the whole audience the finger as he drags out a story that could be written on a napkin and portrayed in ten minutes onscreen and manages to stretch it to an eye-wateringly painful 153 minutes. I was amongst others yawning at the proceedings onscreen. You could argue that what QT was trying to accomplish is atmosphere but in one particular scene involving a basement which felt like it lasted in the region of 20 minutes I was aching for the story to end.
Interestingly not one person walked out. Perhaps that was because it costs so much to attend the cinema these days (what with popcorn, tickets and the obligatory gallon sized Coke) that they all felt obliged to. Perhaps that because Quentin Tarantino made a good film once people expected the story to be going somewhere it wasn’t! I assure you that if you want to see Aldo Raine and his group killing Nazis then head on over to Traileraddict and watch all of their scenes. With the exception of one scene which could be predicted easily, all of the good bits are there!
Inglourious Basterds is a hotchpotch of a plot with no real direction and disappointingly very little care given to it. Subtitles are a welcome change for foreign speaking roles, but some of the French (for example) is sporadically translated and some is not. Samuel L. Jackson acts as a suitable narrator but disappears for most of the film. Could they not afford his fee for the whole movie?
Only on the arrival of Mike Myers as the stupidly “British” General Ed Fenech do you realise that you are witnessing caricatures. It is as if every single piece of propaganda from all sides were collaborated to make this mess of a film.
Mélanie Laurent makes an appearance as a Jewish lady hiding from the Germans who reveals to be in love with a man, but when it is asked of her to “act” as if she is in love for the kissing scene; she reveals that the very sight of the poor chap clearly makes her physically ill. I’ve shared more passionate kisses with my cat!
Ultimately with everyone killing everyone else needlessly you become very immune to the story. Nothing shocks you from the very beginning (usually something QT is good for) and you empathise for not one character onscreen! In fact you just wish they would all die quicker so you can get to the Box-Office to complain and get your money back!
Inglourious Basterds is not another Dirty Dozen. It is not another great Tarantino film. It is not even a mediocre Tarantino film. It is a waste of 153 minutes of your life! Just think of what you could be doing in that time! You could be asking a girl an indecent question and getting kicked in the proverbials. You could go and tell your mother-in-law how much you despise her mole-infested face. You could throw your £15 into the local river and watch it slowly drift away. You could even write to Mr Quentin Tarantino and send him the money whilst requesting an autograph. At least then, there is a chance you’ll get something back from it other than a newly found hatred for this shambles director!
“The legendary writer/director” Quentin Tarantino is dead to me as of this moment. What will rise from the ashes of this corpse of a film is yet to be seen, but I for one will not be expecting any style, substance or content for his next piece. To be fair though his next film could be that of an elderly man scratching his backside for 90 minutes and I’d be more impressed.
If you value cinema and if you value Quentin Tarantino then DO NOT GO AND SEE THIS FILM! It is perhaps the worst I have seen of his work to date (even worse than the pathetic ending of Kill Bill 2). You are likely to sit in the cinema wriggling around trying to get comfortable as you wait and wait… and wait for the atmosphere to build. You will look around at the other cinema-goers and wonder if you are the only one completely bored by what is onscreen. Don’t worry though, you will not be alone.
You have been lied to by the marketing fellows. This film is not about the Inglourious Basterds. It is an attempt by Quentin Tarantino to swan around playing “I-am-a-master-director-and-I-can-do-what-I-want” onscreen. Essentially it is a glorified cock-dance!
As only 10% of this film was entertaining (largely due to Aldo Raine’s group and Christoph Waltz’s character) it only deserves 10% of the maximum.
Rating: 0.5 out of 5