Whether Inglourious Basterds stood the test of time and multiple viewings as my favorite all-time Tarantino’s film is remains to be seen. But, it was *among* his best efforts and certainly my #1 film of 2009. Unforgettable casts, probably the most charming and frightening villain in the film year of 2009, and an enjoyable chaptering that belies its 153 minutes running time. Plus, there are so much going on, each scenes basked with poetry and an above average cinematic flair that multiple viewings is warranted and a must, and personally I have yet to sense a scene that would push me to press fast-forward button when I saw this film on DVD / Blu-Ray someday.
This film has so much going on that reducing it to a view sentences in a single paragraph wouldn’t give it any justice. It was once upon a time, in a Nazi-occupied French. There’s Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), a very able Nazi colonel with a fit nickname of “Jew Hunter.” And then there’s a band of American-Jewish soldier led by Lt.Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) whose purpose is to hunt and kill as many Nazis as they could find. And then there’s Shosanna (Melaine Laurent), a cinema owner and Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), an actress. In between there are several, if not all, interesting characters, and of course, your usual suspects in Nazi-themed film, the Führer himself, and his aides.
Divided into chapters, similar to his previous Kill Bill, in my opinion, Inglourious Basterds went relatively linear and what I liked best about this film is that each prominent characters are unique, compelling and (nearly) complete. From the very first chapter when we are introduced with Hans Landa, with his penchant on milk and his extravagant pipe, we know that he’s the force to be reckon with and it shows despite his rather questionable decision at the end of the film. There are whispers already of giving him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and I have no doubt that given his performance on delivering Hans Landa, with his charm, gentleman-y manners and his effective methods that grant him his nickname, the golden statue should already be in his living room.
The second chapter introduces Lt.Aido Raine portrayed by Brad Pitt who happens to be one of my personal favorite. He was billed as the lead actor in this film and his delivery is as usual, in form. Not as terrific as Christoph Waltz, in my opinion, but more than enough to get noticed and remembered. The third chapter announces Shosanna as played by Melanie Laurent. She is a worthy actress to watch. Great looks, and good acting. Her scene with Hans Landa at the restaurant is among my memorable scene from the film. The other female cast in this film is relatively more popular, Diane Kruger but probably because of the limited screen time and well, Shosanna character is much more interesting than hers, Melanie Laurent is far more memorable than her.
One of the hallmark of films made by Tarantino, and the most prominent feature that made me enjoys his film so much is dialog. Even so, his films are usually stereotyped as violent and although this film has its share of violence, its strongest suit and hey, it comprises most of its running-time is always its dialog. From the dissection of rat, squirrel, and a general feeling of contempt, to a magnificent reference to “King Kong,” to a Charlie Chaplin, any casual film viewers who expect a boom-bang-slash-kill in this film are going to be disappointed. Me? I had a full expectation of cock-full of a wit dialog and came away satisfied. I don’t really understand the general stereotyping of Tarantino’s films. Just before I went to see the film, I happened to catch a feature on behind-the-scene of this film at the local TV. The highlight of the feature, and therefore led the general masses to a *wrong* expectation is that Tarantino is known by his “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill,” both highlighted at its show of violence. No mention on “Reservoir Dogs” and “Jackie Brown.” I mean, when it comes to film stereotyping is as close as you get to a racial insult. And it’s a crime.
All in all, I had a high expectation on this film and although it doesn’t exceed my expectation, I still confidently named it the best film of 2009 that I’ve seen, dethroning “Watchmen” as the reigning champion. Terrific casts all over, with a slight surprise on decent Eli Roth’s performance, I’m more than willing to spend another dime and time to watch this film again, soaking in its words, an basking in its views in my most earnest. Because as far as the cinema goes, this is yet another reason for me of why I love cinema.
My rating: **** / **** – Need I say more? Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Brad Pitt all give their top form performance. Interesting characters, even the relatively small roles are given an unique shape. Great script that begs to have it listened, and to some extend, analyzed. In short, everything that is best from Tarantino, only a bit better, if that’s even possible. It is my best film of 2009, so far.