Wednesday, August 26

Inglorious Basterds

In movie theaters now is Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Well known as both a writer and a director, Tarantino makes this movie one of his finest. For those not in the know, he also gave us Pulp Fiction (1994), Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004), creating his own genre of comedy and gore. Would that be goromedy?

Always surprising us, QT’s choice for front man, Lt. Aldo Raine, is A-lister Brad Pitt, who reveled in his role as the leader of the American Jews sent to brutally kill 100 Nazis per team member. Not since Burn After Reading (2008) has he seemed to so thoroughly enjoy himself on the screen. Who else could bring laughter from the audience with various wisecracks, while practicing the fine art of forehead carving?

Tarantino’s genius, perhaps, lies in casting the perfect actor for each role, and then allowing each to do what he or she does best. He gives them permission to go over the top to become almost a caricature of the characters they are to portray.

And then they kill somebody. Violently.

Pitt’s portrayal as the Tennessean sent to kick Nazi butts was not the hit of the movie, though. Surprised? You’re not the only one.
Christoph Waltz as Colonel Hans Landa

There was a breakout star of the movie. How many actors can say that they stole a film from the king of Hollywood?

Christoph Waltz can. Turning in the No. 1 performance of the movie, Waltz portrays Colonel Hans Landa, the deliciously evil, and yet somehow, oddly charming, egomaniacal Nazi who hunts down Jews. Hailing from Vienna, Austria, Waltz is virtually still an unknown in America. But not for long.

Winning the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival this year for Basterds, Waltz appears to be a sure bet for the Best Supporting Actor Award at the Oscars. Not the typical SS officer, the eloquent Landa is crazy like a fox, with a self-indulgent attitude willing to do anything to catch what he terms repulsive rats. The opening scene sets the pace and tone of the movie, with Landa quietly and methodically coercing a French farmer into revealing exactly where he has stashed a Jewish family. Then has his men open fire, naturally; it’s his job.
Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark
The rest of the movie is a bit surprising here and there, dubbed as a fantasy-historical film. The plot basically is about the one family member who escaped, planning revenge and simultaneously, some espionage is worked in while a German hero falls for the escaped Jewish girl.


They throw in subtitles, too. Not to worry, though; it actually runs smoothly.

Not addressed in the movie were the inhumane and vicious atrocities endured by the victims of the Nazis. Perhaps Tarantino credits his audience with the intelligence to remember those facts concerning WWII. Disregarding the final events of the war, as played out in history, the flick resembles a young boy’s fantasy of, “Wouldn’t it be nice if this is what really happened?”

Bottom Line: Plan on hearing about this movie, and Christoph Waltz, for a long time, and consider both already on the list of Golden Globe and Academy Award nominees.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and performing arts critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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