Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino

Serena and I went to see Inglourious Basterds as soon as it hit the theaters, and not being a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, I didn't have high expectations for the film.  However, I absolutely loved it (read our review here), and when Kathy told me there were scenes in the published screenplay that weren't in the movie, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy.

Inglourious Basterds is a revenge war film with a lot going on.  It takes place in Nazi-occupied France and has two major storylines that ultimately converge.  There's Shosanna, who escapes being murdered by "the Jew Hunter," SS Colonel Hans Landa, and eventually comes to own a cinema in Paris.  She meets a German soldier who is attracted to her, and he decides that the Nazi propaganda in which he stars should be premiered at her theater.  Meanwhile, Lieutenant Aldo Raine and his Basterds, a group of Jewish-American soldiers, are attacking German troops, scalping them, and leaving one survivor with a Swastika carved into his forehead.  The Basterds are determined to attend the film premier and hopefully put a stop to the war.

Inglourious Basterds is the first screenplay I've ever read, so I didn't know what to expect.  Tarantino's stage directions are very detailed, making it easy to picture the story in my head, but the fact that I saw the movie first probably helped quite a bit in that respect.  He gives a lot more description and commentary than I would have expected.
Strangling the very life out of somebody with your bare hands is the most violent act a human being can commit.
Also, only human beings strangle, opposable thumbs being a quite important part of the endeavor.  (page 137)
It's these kinds of details that really make the screenplay interesting to read.  The dialogue also is very clever, and there were several scenes or parts of scenes that weren't in the movie.  I can see why they weren't included, as they aren't crucial to the plot, but they were interesting nonetheless.

I enjoyed reading Inglourious Basterds almost as much as I enjoyed watching it.  If you're someone who doesn't mind reading graphic violence and would rather read it than watch it, then the screenplay is the way to go.  While the violence can be a bit much in Inglourious Basterds (this is Quentin Tarantino, after all), the plot and the characters were so captivating that I could overlook it in this case.  As for whether I'd ever read another screenplay, I'm not sure.  It's not like reading a novel after watching the movie; with a screenplay, you're essentially reading the movie.  But it was totally worth it in this case.

Inglourious Basterds is book 25 for me for the WWII reading challenge at War Through the Generations.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Inglourious Basterds from Hachette for review purposes.


bermudaonion said...

Fantastic review! I had planned to see the movie after reading the screenplay, but decided it would be too violent for me.

Serena said...

I really loved the movie and cannot wait to get to this screenplay. Thanks for the honest review.

Blodeuedd said...

I am so weird, I thought there wasn't enough violence, wow I am weird. Nah I just mean that I guess I expected blood and gore everywhere and then when there wasn't (according to me) I felt it wasn't that bad.

April said...

Excellent review! I am going to bury my head and peek between fingers as I murmur that I have not seen nor heard of this that I recall - I live a very sheltered and cartoon filled life, lol! I'm going to keep my eyes out now!

Lenore Appelhans said...

I liked the movie too (though I looked away quite a bit) and I think Christopher Waltz deserves an Oscar nom for sure.

Aarti said...

I still haven't seen this one. I have it on Netflix queue, though! God knows when I'll see it, even with that, but I want to!!

Am I the only person who is seriously irked by the spelling of "basterds"?

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm not a big Tarantino fan either so I wasn't sure whether or not I'd like this one. Glad you did though so I may give it a try. I've read one or two screenplays before but the format really throws me off even though I usually enjoy them anyways.

Bybee said...

My son likes to read screenplays, but I rarely if ever find them on my radar. Great review! I want to see this movie!

My son just said that Pulp Fiction was a great screenplay with a lot of interesting asides.

Anna said...

~bermudaonion: I was wondering whether you saw the movie or not. From what I know of your tastes, you're probably right to avoid it.

~Serena: I'm looking forward to your thoughts on those extra scenes.

~Blodeuedd: Well, from what I know of some of Tarantino's other movies, this was probably tamer.

~April: Thanks! This definitely is one of those peek through your fingers movies!

~Lenore: I totally agree!

~Aarti: I don't like the spelling either, but I can live with it. LOL Let me know what you think when you finally have a chance to watch it.

~Ladytink: If you have an interest in WWII, then I say give the movie and/or screenplay a shot, even if you don't like his other works.

~Bybee: I hope you get a chance to see it. And thanks for the info on the Pulp Fiction screenplay. That's the only other film I've seen by Tarantino.

Anna and Serena said...

We've posted a link to your review on the War blog. Thanks for participating.