Brad Pitt plays Lt. Aldo, leader of an American group of professional soldiers out in the fields of France during WW2. That team is The Bastards, who kill and scalp Nazis. This group is now going to take place in a secret mission at the screening of a new Nazi propaganda film, where all the top honchos, even Hitler himself, will be attending. But it’s not the Bastards who are out for Nazi blood, as the theatre’s owner, Shosanna Dreyfuss (Melanie Laurent) has her own personal vendetta against the Fuhrer’s army. This will definitely be a night to remember.
I’m half and half about Quentin Tarantino. Love Reservoir Dogs and love the third act of Death Proof. The rest of his work, even in the producing end, I’m pretty indifferent about. A lot of my friends had told me that this was his best movie, by far, but not being someone who buys into hype, I’ve waited almost three weeks before finally taking a watch at it. I must say, this movie is pretty damn entertaining. I find it hilarious that Tarantino decided to basically rewrite history, and turn it into a genuinely violent film. It’s funny because at first I was expecting to watch a remake of the Enzo G. Castellari film, which in itself is something of a Dirty Dozen wannabe. But this movie has little to nothing of the original, and that’s a good thing since the first Bastards is a masterpiece of Italian action films.
A lot of what makes it work is the casting. Brad Pitt is pretty damn good in his role, giving it a lot of humor but also macho attitude, and he kicks ass a whole lot. Eli Roth also surprised me in the role of the Beat Jew, wondering why he doesn’t act more since he’s obviously better at it than directing. But it’s the three Europeans who steal the show: First off, Melanie Laurent. She’s beautiful and tragic, and her thirst for revenge was very genuine. The beautiful Diane Kruger, as a German actress who works with the Americans, is also great, and is very hot too. But Christoph Waltz stands heads and shoulders above the rest, giving one of the best villainous performances I’ve seen in a long time. He gives Otto Preminger (in Stalag 17) a run for his money as the most odious Nazi commander in WW2 cinema. The worst part about it is that he’s such a likeable bastard, no pun intended, even when doing the terrible things he does.
The movie is pretty damn bloody, and it seems that Tarantino was trying to even out-do himself in the violence department. Scalping, many many bullet holes, bashings with a bat, it’s all fun and violent. I also loved all the German cinema trivia. Loved hearing different tidbits about GW Pabst, Leni Riefenstahl and, in a hilarious way, thinking about Emil Jannings, that great actor of films like Faust, The Last Laugh and The Blue Angel, who decided to act in films for the Third Reich as villainous Jews, burn to death in a film theatre. Should’ve stayed in America with Murnau and Lang, buddy.
Now, with all the praise I’ve given the film, I have one negative, and that’s the music. I know Tarantino doesn’t use music scores, but this kind of damaged the film for me. I liked the use of spaghetti western music, but there are many dramatic sequences that seem to use music from a 50’s monster movie which really turned me off to the suspense. And don’t get me started on the Bowie song. I love Bowie and I love that song, but a WW2 film is not the place for a Bowie song. Other than that, I loved the film, found it very entertaining and comical, and cool on the action, and look forward to Tarantino’s next.