Movie: Inglourious Basterds

During 1941, Hans Landa(Christoph Waltz) works as Colonel in the SS, a major Nazi organization under Adolf Hitler. He is nicknamed as the “Jew Hunter” since he specializes in tracking down Jewish families hiding from Nazi persecution. In the Nazi occupied France, Landa massacres a Jewish family hiding out in the basement of a French peasant’s house. But, the teenage daughter of the family, Shosanna Dreyfus, miraculously escapes.

Around the same time in US, 1st Lieutenant Aldo Raine(Brad Pitt) assembles a group of eight Jewish American soldiers for a mission. Their mission is to infiltrate into the enemy territory and inflict damage on the enemy thereby creating panic in the minds of the soldiers.

Now, in 1944, Raine has been very successful in his mission. Raine and his gang ambushes and scalps the Nazis. They extract vital information from the survivors. After extracting the information, Raine carves a swastika on their forehead and leaves them alive to spread the word of terror to the other Nazi soldiers. In spite of the best efforts to keep the fame of Raine under control, the Nazis are unsuccessful. Raine has two major elements of terror working for him. They are Staff Sergeant Donny Donowitz(Eli Roth), nicknamed as the “Bear Jew” for mercilessly clubbing Nazi officers with a baseball bat and Hugo Stiglitz(Til Schweiger), a former Nazi soldier whom Raine recruits after helping him to escape from a Nazi prison.

Meanwhile, Shosanna Dreyfus(Melanie Laurent) resides in Paris after taking a new name and is operating a small cinema. A German war hero, Frederick Zoller(Daniel Bruhl), is smitten by her. Zoller is currently acting in a propaganda movie and persuades Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels to hold the premiere of his movie at Shosanna’s theater. Goebbels gives into Zoller and agrees. To Shosanna’s surprise, Landa will be in charge of the security. Together with Marcel, her black lover, she decides to burn the theater down on the night of the premiere.

At the same time, the British comes to know that Hitler might be attending the premiere personally. Winston Churchill(Rod Taylor) and General Ed Fenech(Mike Meyers) sends their man, Lt. Archie Hicox(Michael Fassbender) as a German film critic to the premiere in order to lead an attack on Hitler. In order to attend the premiere, Hicox enlists Raine’s help. Together, they meet a double agent and a German actress named Bridget von Hammersmark(Diane Kruger). The rest of the story tells us whether Raine or Shosanna succeed in their separate attempts to bring down Nazi leadership on the night of the premiere.

Quentin Tarantino directs this movie paying homage to the World War II and also spaghetti westerns. In his characteristic style, Quentin chooses to tell story in chapters. His characters engages in engrossingly long diatribes, sucking us right into the middle of the events while our emotions – surprise, revolt, laughter - changes with each fleeting second. Quentin uses the background music effectively to build the drama while paying homage to the popular movies of this genre. He has dug up tunes from old movies and used it as the background score at places. Quentin also builds the suspense effectively with sounds, the prominent being the introduction of the Bear Jew. You will not see him appearing on the screen for an awfully long time. But the sound of the baseball bat hitting the walls fills the movie hall and the audience is watching with anticipation. He has also used camera angles to pay homage to the genre. But Quentin displays his penchant using the camera in a most unusual way while Raine interrogates a German soldier after an ambush. Here, he points and shifts the camera on Raine, the captured German soldier and the map and forces the audience on focus on where he wants us to. Like a experienced story teller who goes on a small tangent to share anecdotes while telling stories, Quentin uses very brief flashbacks to establish the characters. Here again, the story Hugo Stiglitz is explained in a flashback which is an homage to the trailers of this genre. With this movie, Quentin also introduces talented actors from Europe to a wider audience.

Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa steals the show with his performance. Christoph’s Landa is a methodical, merciless and remorseless investigator. He uses his smile to give the audience a glimpse of the maniacal side of Landa. He also uses forced laughter to cover up an instant setback while pitted against an adversary. When the laughter ends, he proceeds in a different direction to extract the information he needs. Be it the interrogation of the French Peasant or an adult Shosanna or Bridget, Christoph ensures the audience is hooked on the scene watching every move he makes.

Brad Pitt delivers an interesting performance with a permanent scowl on his face and Tennessee accent. Til Schweiger is good as the cold blooded killer and Eli Roth is menacing as the Bear Jew.

Watch this! Don’t take your kids to this movie!

Language: English

Genre: War

Rating: ****

Tags: Movies,Christoph Waltz,Brad Pitt,Eli Roth,Til Schweiger,Melanie Laurent,Daniel Bruhl,Rod Taylor,Mike Myers,Michael Fassbender,Quentin Tarantino,War


  1. This one is a don't miss. Tarantino alone is good enough, Tarantino plus Pitt is irresistable.

  2. @Sucharita - Spoken like a true Tarantino fan and a true Brad fan. :)

    @BKC - Yes. You should. A word of advice. Don't take the kids with you unless they are over 18. :)

  3. Thanks for the review. Like Tarantino movies but was not aware that IB was one of his. Well written movie critique.

  4. @TheButterflyDiaries - Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the encouraging words. Hope you have fun watching this movie.


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