Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

Rating: A-

Before I even begin to review the film Inglourious Basterds, there are two people I would like to punch in the face; the Universal marketing department and MTV writer Larry Carroll.

To The Universal Marketing Department: I understand why you’d want to market this film as a “WW II action movie.”  It puts butts in seats.  But the reality is that this movie is not that.  It’s a meaningful and thoughtful piece about war and revenge that deserves to be in an art house cinema and not in the film library of PC Danny Butterman.  You might be selling tickets, but it risks a backlash of negative reviews from people who were expecting something different.  It’s also too damn easy.  Nut up and work for a living.

To MTV Writer Larry Carroll: you’re next.  Be a damn professional and think before you put a damn spoiler in your article headline you stupid @$%#!  There are some people who try, very hard, to avoid spoilers.  We can’t do that when you put them in the headline.  *#$%!

So, what about the movie?


Tarantino is three things; a writer of sharp dialogue, a master at pacing and a skillful hand with his camera.

Writer of Sharp Dialogue: Tarantino is known for the way his characters talk, and I love that about his films.  You know you’re watching a Tarantino movie, just like you know you’re watching a David Mamet film.  This movie has his unique flourishes of dialogue, but very carefully placed within the context of the 1940’s.  It sounds like a Tarantino film while at the same time sounding like a WW II period piece.  That, my friend, is a skill.

A Master Of Pacing: Tarantino goes where the story takes him.  It doesn’t matter if that scene is 3 seconds on 13 minutes.  The actors and the film itself serve the story.  There are numerous scenes that are “long” because that’s what the story commands.  They’re both entertaining and they add to the tension of the film.  So they’re not “long” so much as they’re simply “longer.”  To that point, Tarantino takes a page from the TV show LOST, and really squeezes every drop out of his entire cast.  I enjoyed seeing some of the supporting cast members getting as much screen time as Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger (no offense to them, but you get what I mean).  Tarantino has always been good with large casts, and this film allows him to place the pieces on the board and push through his story at the right pace utilizing each of these characters.

A Skillful Hand With His Camera: Tarantino shoots like Kubrick; every shot is well thought out and planned.   He moves the camera.  He uses awkward angles.  Much like how he uses his words and his actors to accelerate his story, he uses the camera in the same way.  It services the story and it adds yet a dimension to the movie as a whole that provides his signature.

This is a great movie.  Like I said above.  It’s thoughtful.  It’s a meaningful film about war and revenge.  It’s funny.  It has action.  It has all the things that other Tarantino films have and it’s everything I enjoy about his filmmaking.

PS I will also say that if you do enjoy this movie, your first thought would be to go and rent The Dirty Dozen or Kelly’s Heroes…which is cool, but you might consider instead to seek out the Paul Verhoeven film Black Book (Zwartboek) and Valkyrie (see my review) instead.  Both are excellent chasers to this film.


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One Response to “Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds”

  1. CMrok93 Says:

    I agree, great flick. One of the best of 09. I was freaking laughing my ass off the entire time! Plus, there was some serious intense scenes: i.e. opening and the tavern basement. Seeing Hitler’s face get chewed up by a Tommy gun was pretty sick too. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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