Quaid here to introduce you to our newest contributor. Anna lives in LA, and, as such, she was able to catch Quentin Tarantino’s newest film a few weeks early. Suffice it to say…we’re all a little jealous. Check out her thoughts below.
In war and retribution there is only madness. An ensemble of the most raw, cunning, and barbaric fools realize this truth in Quentin Tarantino’s latest work, Inglorious Basterds.
The title says it all, and knowing Quentin, certain ends were predictable. But I suppose, fate had more to do with that predictability than anything. And in the very end, looking back, I seem to have been propelled through a plot that took me all too terribly by surprise.
The film takes place in France, in the grip of German occupation during WWII. A stunning shot of dusk over a dairy farm sets the mood for a sober experience. But despite the authenticity of cinematography, costuming, and staging, Quentin had no mind to make just another WWII film. Instead, he flipped a switch in the opening sequence and infused his tragedy with humor.
Deliciously portrayed by Christoph Waltz, Col. Hans Landa, with the light of a cartoonish pipe, colors the story with its first touch of insanity. In a flight of jovial conversation, Landa coerces a stubborn farmer to reveal his Jewish refugee wards. But the comedy in Waltz’s performance, however jarring, did not break the authenticity of the event. And so, with a cheerful “Adieu,” Quentin’s first massacre is executed by the most frightening villain of all: the witty one.
Seamlessly, each scene tops the last, balancing humor with horror, brains with guts. But if the film is epic, it is because the filmmaker has created his masterpiece. There are no battlefields. There are basement pubs. There are no war heroes. There are wannabe actors and vain Third Reich filmmakers. There are no missions to save a valiant Private Ryan. There are only Basterds, a fraternity of Jewish Americans out for some Nazi-huntin’ sport. A refreshing “flick” that is anything but, Inglorious Basterds illustrates—graphically—the capacity of human kind for destruction and madness in a style I haven’t seen so beautifully handled since Dr. Strangelove. And indeed, Col. Hans Landa’s final stand against his opposition recalled the glory of Slim Pickens’ famed ride on the atomic bomb.
Tarantino’s script, after a decade of writing, and less than a year in pre-, production, and post-, materialized as the freshest take on a WWII setting that the international film community has seen to this day. With brilliant performances from each member of the ensemble cast, ballsy dialogue, and awe-inspiring visuals, Inglorious Basterds eclipses Pulp as the highlight of Tarantino’s career.