Monday, January 14, 2013

Inglourious Basterds part 1 - Basement Massacre

  Inglourious Basterds
Sometimes the last few chapters of the story are the best.
Part 1 – Basement Massacre. 
I have been a Quentin Tarantino fan ever since I was in the 6th grade. My mother adored his movies and I clearly remember when she first showed me Pulp Fiction. Never before had I seen a movie made that way, so perfectly written and edited. It wasn't long before I saw Reservoir Dogs and I was hooked. I think I was the only girl my age that had posters from that movie plastered all over my room. I had the biggest crush on Mr. Blond and Mr. Orange and loved everything about the Tarantino movies I was being shown. Soon I had watched Dusk Till Dawn, True Romance, and Jackie Brown. In fact when Jackie Brown was released I clearly remember my mother bought my sister and I kangaroo hats that were seen in the movie. I had so many happy memories watching these movies with my mother. We both loved the characters, quotes, story lines, and of course the soundtracks. Of course I was blown away when I was able to see Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 in theaters and knew that there was no cinema fan like Mr. Tarantino. This was a movie fan who took all the best elements of the movies he adored growing up and shaped them into some of the best films made in the last twenty years. 

I loved Grindhouse and it took me more than a couple viewers to finally warm up to Death Proof. I hate to say this, but I found most of the female characters very unlikeable. For once Tarantino's dialog just wasn't working for me. As a huge fan of his and car movies from the 1970's, it really wasn't my cup of tea. Lucky enough, a few years passed and finally all those rumors of the Tarantino's WWII epic began to come true. Never before had I been so excited and had been following so closely the making and development of a movie. Finally in the summer of 2009 Inglourious Basterds was released. 2009 was an awful year for myself. I had just lost my mother, and somehow this movie finds a very special place in my heart. My mother was very interested in Jewish culture back in war times, and I have a feeling she would have not only liked this movie...she would have loved it. I really can't explain how blown away I was with this film, but I think a huge reason why it's in my top fifteen favorite movies of all time is simply because I know how much my mother would have enjoyed it.

This is a movie I had discussed, analyzed, and adored ever since I saw it in theaters. Tarantino honestly took the ruined ashes that were left from Death Proof, and skyrocketed them to the heavens with this movie.

Now of course this movie is utter perfection, and I feel that when Brad Pitt and BJ Novak are smiling down in the last shot at the audience, Aldo's life of “This may be my masterpiece.” it was Tarantino saying that this movie is his masterpiece and even if he makes dozen of awesome movies after this...Basterds is one for the record books. 

Instead of going over how much I do love this movie, I'm going to focus on the last forty-five or so minutes of the movie. After lots of brilliant tension building scenes, memorable moments, and breathtaking was the last few chapters of the movie that truly stood out for me. Now I'm sure in the future I'll be going over the first half of the movie...but tonight I'll be talking about when the movie in my eyes really started to pick up and the crazy journey Tarantino was taking us on was quickly beating away to a jaw dropping ending.

Let's start with the basement scene.

In my eyes this was the best written scene in a film in nearly thirty years.

In a small Nazi-occupied village in France, the Bastards hire on British officer Archie Hicox who specializes in German cinema. Meeting with secret agent British spy Bridget von Hammersmark, a very popular and beautiful German actress, they made meet up in a small basement pub in the village at night. Taking two of the German born members of the bastards (Hugo Stiglitz and Wilhelm Wicki) disguised as SS officers. They believe the meeting with go smoothly as they go over the latest events in a huge movie premiere held by some of the highest ranking members of the SS. Believing there will be more French than Germans in the bar, the officers are all quickly stunned to see a whole group of officers who are enjoying themselves in the bar celebrating the birth of one of the officer's sons.

Wanting to play it cool, the three men simply sit down as von Hammersmark joins them, pretending that she had been waiting for them. It isn't long before one of the drunken officers notice how off Hicox' accent sounds, and brings the attention of a Major who has been drinking silently in the back.

Quickly things go down hill...

This film reminds me a lot of the movie The Great Escape. This whole movie was filled with tension filled moments. This is the absolute worst. Never before in theaters had I been so nervous or on the edge of my seat. Back at school when I watched this scene with a friend he made a very good point. He said...”Everything that could go wrong for them...went wrong.” The pacing of this scene was complete perfection. From the moment all of the officers stand up to salute Hicox, Stiglitz, and Wicki as they freeze on the stairs, you can't help but feel like your one of them. This is what I have to say is the worst luck in the world. We were introduced to these three characters and feel every drawn out moment in that basement.

I think one of the greatest moments in this scene has to be when Hicox makes the fatal mistake in holding up his three middle fingers to order the glasses. I was floored with Tarantino's directing at this moment. Just how such a small settle detail was caught. I loved how the moment Hicox did it you see clearly on his face, along with everyone else...that they were caught. Just how right away everyone's face drops and they know that this is it. How long the bartender pours the glasses, and how finally the Major comes out telling them he knows they aren't German. The exchange between the two is amazing. I love how the Major clearly tells Hixcox that they aren't getting out of that basement alive. That if they do indeed try to go out fighting, blood is going to be spilled. Hicox's last words in American speaking The Kings is beyond memorable. Just the expressions on the men at the table, knowing that their going to die. Can't help but get chills.

I love how literary all of the build up violence happens in less than thirty seconds. How this horrible shoot out massacre happens and all these characters we just met and honestly felt for are killed before our own very eyes. I'm sure I'm speaking for a lot of people...this movie left me totally speechless.

The basement scene and massacre is film perfection at it's greatest and trust it, even as Shosanna is getting ready later in the film to Cat People, I was still left in total awe from the bloodbath I just witnessed. 

Stay Tuned for part 2 of my thoughts of the rest of this mind blowing movie!

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