Inglorious Bastards (2009)

I was a bit surprised when I had heard that the next Tarantino would be a war movie of the 40’s. Yesterday I went to see it (at an in my mind ridiculous price for a movie ticket!!!) and I must admit, I liked it…. except for the scalping part, but hey, I’m girlish like that.

To me, it seemed like a well written war movie (though I did detect some debatable elements – but after discussing that with a colleague we agreed that for continuity and story purposes they were valid).

What surprised me is that the languages were so diverse. The Germans spoke German, the French spoke French and the Americans, of course, English. Why surprised? Well, I was under the impression that in the US, it is not that much appreciated to be reading subtitling. A foreign movie is not, for that reason, broadly seen, as I’ve heard (though this has gone through some changes). In Europe, and I can only speak for me in Belgium – and for that mainly the Flemish part – we are used to see movies in original languages, subtitled and are, as you can say, trained in reading subtitles quickly. So much can be lost in a translation. So when you can hear the subtleties of a language, it gives a lot more to the performance, no?

And here, in Inglorious Bastards, you picked up the cultural differences and attitudes through the use of language alone: the stiff upper lip of the English, the layback attitude of the Americans, the strictness of the Germans and the boldness of the French. Of course, not so stereotypically shown as I have written it, but you saw the nuances which define a culture and identity.

And the fact that throughout the movie there were a lot of switches between all languages (at some point even Italian – a fun scene that one!), made it for me even more interesting. (Have I mentioned I’m a language aficionado?)

If you can find Mike Myers in the movie, then you are good. I’m not saying anything more, but his performance is a nice one. Pronunciation: well-studied.

Tarantino features in it twice, but so fast that I didn’t see him. My colleague had to tell me the day after the viewing where he was briefly seen.

Now what made this movie so pleasing for me was the lesser known actors. Yes, it had Brad Pitt in it, and Diane Kruger. But to me there was an actor that was a revelation: Christoph Waltz. He played Standartenführer Hans Landa aka “The Jew Hunter”. In my mind, this character carries this movie, no doubt about it. The actor intrigued me: he spoke so perfectly German, English, French and Italian, which I began to doubt which one was his native tongue! (He’s Austrian). And his performance was charismatic, frightening, hateful and likeable … No wonder he received the Best Actor Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Very well-earned, I say!

Go on and see Inglorious Bastards. Fan or no fan of Tarantino, it is a good war movie. A bit different from what we are used to with Tarantino, and for that I like it to. A director that doesn’t diversifies, is not a risk taker. And isn’t that the point of directing?

Another thing we discussed after the movie, is how in the trailer some images are shown that feature not in the movie. Some small shots that you immediately await when you recognize the scene and once it passed you go “hey, where did that shot go from the trailer?”… I let you watch and check it out for yourself.

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