Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) recruits a team of ruthless American soldiers, known as “The Bastards”, to strike fear into the heart of Adolf Hitler by brutally murdering or disfiguring as many Nazis as possible. They soon hatch a plan to kill several high-ranking German officers at the premier of a Nazi propaganda film, but their plan must be reevaluated once they learn that Hitler himself will be attending the premier. While this all unfolds, Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent), a vengeful French Jew whose family was murdered by Col. Hans Landa, convinces the party to let her host the premier at her own beloved theater so she can murder many key German figures at once, including the man who killed her family. Inglorious Bastards has a very talented cast, but before this film many of them hadn’t acted in any major American pictures. Quentin Tarantino has a knack for discovering new talent and for keeping those talented individuals under his wing.
For example, Christoph Waltz (Col. Hans Landa in the film) had not performed in an American film until Inglorious Bastards, but for his role he received an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actor” and has since performed in 13 major American films. Daniel Bruhl is another great example of great talent discovered for this film. Unlike Waltz, Bruhl had acted in American movies before, but his portrayal of Fredrick Zoller in this film resulted in his first critical success as a leading film performer. Melanie Laurent, who plays Shosanna Dreyfus in this film, had acted primarily in French indie films prior to Inglorious Bastards, but has since performed and written in more popular and widely-distributed films. Laurent was also nominated and won many awards for her performance in Inglorious Bastards, including many awards for “Best Actress” or “Best Acting Ensemble”.
Although a minor character, Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Lt. Archie Hicox was extraordinary and has since helped him in landing a career role in the X-Men franchise as Erik Lensherr. His performance in Inglorious Bastards helped further his partnership with director Steve McQueen, whose films eventually provided an avenue for Fassbender to receive his first Academy Award nomination in 2014. Inglorious Bastards is filled with incredible acting talent, and it is one of the rare instances where some of the greatest minds in performance art all participate in the same project. Quentin Tarantino himself is an award winning director and has consistently directed some of the best movies in American film history.
Specifically for Inglorious Bastards, Tarantino was nominated for many awards for directing, including a People’s Choice Award, DGA (Director’s Guild of America) Award, BAFTA Award, two Golden Globes, and two Academy Awards. Tarantino has a history of creating smash hits with his directorial work, and Inglorious Bastards is no exception. As Lou Lumenick, film critic for the New York Post, writes: “Quentin Tarantino’s extremely witty revenge fantasy Inglorious Bastards may be the most fun you’ll have at the movies. .
. His film Pulp Fiction is listed in “IMDB’s Top 250” as number 5, Django Unchained at #51, Reservoir Dogs at #75, Kill Bill Vol. 1 at #168, and Inglorious Bastards itself is listed at #102. On a similar list of AMC’s “50 Greatest Directors of All Time”, Tarantino is listed at #6 ahead of other well-known and critically-acclaimed directors such as Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Woody Allen, and many more. In terms of entertainment value, Inglorious Bastards is unmatched. While history buffs may complain that the film taints their sacred history books, there is no doubt this film will keep the viewer on the edge of their seat.
Tarantino’s wartime fantasies may leave history in the dust, but his movie is a surprisingly satisfying contribution to movies about the Holocaust” (Hartl 2009). The film sold over $321,000,000 on a budget of around $75 million, which just goes to show that it was well received by movie-goers. Inglorious Bastards made history not only for the historical-fiction genre, but for the art of film as a whole. It’s the true definition of the American Dream and it reinforces the American superiority complex: an American director rewrites history and centers a main portion of the plot on a team of American soldiers who love killing Nazis.
On top of that, the majority of the characters are played by relatively-unknown foreign actors playing American (or other Allied countries) soldiers, and every moment of it is incredible. The only person I would not recommend watch this film is a person who who doesn’t feel any sense of American pride, or who doesn’t love the sight of bloody American conquest and the misfortune and ever-so-satisfying defeat of our enemies.
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