Disclaimer: I give the entire plot away in this post.
Hitler dies poetically at the hands of Jews in Tarantino’s new movie Inglourious Basterds (the misspelling is to differentiate this movie from Quel Maledetto treno blindato, translated Inglorious Bastards which is curiously also set in Europe during WWII). And if you happened to wonder too, inglorious is a word, but not “inglourious” as Tarantino spells it.
I could say a lot about the film. It’s good, completely gory (one word: scalping) but if you’re going to see a Tarantino film, you should expect it. It’s written very well, by far the best Tarantino I’ve seen.
The acting’s great, especially the villain played by Christoph Waltz who won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for this role. Brad Pitt was funny most of the time, and Mélanie Laurent‘s performance as a theater owner/escaped Jew seeking revenge made me want to be her. Plus, I actually liked Diane Kruger for once!
Despite all of this, I didn’t leave the theater thinking about any of what I just said- I left puzzled. Hitler died? I couldn’t believe it. More specifically he is gunned down, literally shot to pieces by members of the Inglorious Basterds at the same time Shosanna (Laurent’s character) burns down the theater. As if that weren’t enough, after Hitler dies and the fire kills many members of the SS, explosives strapped to some basterds ankles go off, blowing the theater to bits.
I told Caleb (my husband) as we left that in a year or two I know some idiot is going to try to argue “Hitler died in a movie theater at the hands of the basterds! He didn’t commit suicide! They got him!”
And granted, movies often make small omissions and changes when dealing with bio-pics, but should art be allowed to change history? should someone rewrite the death of a major historical figure in the name of entertainment? or re-stage a major historical event?
What if a few years from now, someone changes the facts of 9/11 or Pearl Harbor? Or is the truth something we’re willing to sacrifice if its a good movie?
This movie comes at a time when more and more people aren’t interested in factual information, they want the facts with a spin. That’s why newspapers are losing money and closing down, and people turn to cable news channels where instead of facts, they’ll be delivered a neatly wrapped opinion (this applies to both sides, left and right). Instead of facts, America wants something sensationalized, dramatic, entertaining.
Inglourious Bastereds definitely fits the bill.
(out of 5)
While writing this, I came upon a completely unrelated op-ed about Basterds that I thought was very interesting. It asks an entirely different question.