Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist war film with one of the best cinematic endings, makes its arrival today on 4K Ultra HD.
The following is from my review as written in 2019 for the 10th anniversary. However, there are some revisions to account for the last two years. Unfortunately, there is no change in the Jew-hatred. A shame. All people need to do is just not hate Jews. Is this too much to ask? But I digress, let’s get on with this film review.
What I am sorry to report is that Inglourious Basterds could be a film that takes place today. It’s not so much because of the conditions in Europe but because of how things presently are in the United States. No side of the political spectrum is immune to Jew-hatred. The former president enabled a lot of the antisemitic climate leading up to and during his administration He quoted someone who called him the King of Israel and the Jewish people.. And yet, Jewish Republicans are willing to look the other way and ignore antisemitism in their own party. It’s not quite the same in the Democratic Party. Speaking for myself, I’m not afraid to call out a fellow Democrat when I see them using antisemitic rhetoric. It is through this content in which I’m reviewing the film.
A lot has changed since Inglourious Basterds was released theatrically twelve years ago. Antisemitism is worse than its been since the 1940s. Viewing this film now isn’t the same. Not when Jews are vulnerable.
This film has two major plots that converge during its epic climax. Yes, one of the best cinematic endings in history. I can’t stress enough just how much fun I had watching the ending in theaters. I had just as much fun rewatching the film this week. It wouldn’t be the last time that Tarantino would use a revisionist twist. Because Tarantino used up the revisionist twist ten years ago, Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood doesn’t quite hit with the same magic. He already used the twist here!
Most of the film takes place three years following the open. One plot, which takes its roots in the film’s opening, sees French Jewish cinema owner Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) seek to burn down the theater when all the Nazi leadership are inside. The second plot sees First Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) with a team of Jewish-American soldiers. What ties these two plots together isn’t just the converging climax but SS colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Landa was there when Shosanna escaped from French dairy farmer Perrier La Padite’s basement in 1941. Meanwhile, Landa is also hunting down Raine’s team–known as the Basterds–because their killing and cutting off Nazi scalps.
Shosanna informs projectionist Marcel of her plans to burn down Emmanuelle Mimieux with all the Nazis inside. Meanwhhile, British Royal Marine Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) is also planning an attack. His plan involves teaming up with the Basterds.
While Waltz won an Oscar for his role as Landa, it’s very hard to imagine anyone else but him in the role. Yet once upon a time, Tarantino wanted to have Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s a good thing that the filmmaker decided to replace him with Waltz instead. This is a role where you simply cannot imagine anyone else.
Tarantino makes some bold choices here. The film is ultra-violent as are most Tarantino films. On another level, Inglourious Basterds isn’t so much a Holocaust film in the traditional sense. It’s certainly a war film. We have good guys and bad guys. The good guys are…ultra-violent and crush heads with baseball bats. With some changes, you could literally drop this film into other moments of history. However, dropping the Bear Jew (Eli Roth) into another point of time just wouldn’t work. Unless it’s something like the Spanish Inquisition or something.
At the end of the film, Raine carves a swastika into Landa’s forehead and professes it to be his “masterpiece.” If you ask me, Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino’s best film.
- Extended & Alternate Scenes
- Roundtable Discussion with Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and Elvis Mitchell
- The New York Times Talk
- Nation’s Pride – Original Short
- The Making of Nation’s Pride
- The Original Inglourious Basterds
- A Conversation with Rod Taylor
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Quentin Tarantino
CAST: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, and Mélanie Laurent