Sunday, August 15, 2010

30 Day Movie Meme: Day 7


Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Written and Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

There aren't too many movies out there that have had endings that surprised me. I knew the outcome of The Usual Suspects before ever having seen the film. It was the same case with both Se7en and The Shawshank Redemption. While I do remember being surprised by the ending of The Sixth Sense, I don't necessarily consider it a favourite twist. The same goes with Fight Club, which is one of my favourite films of the 1990s, but the ending doesn't stand alone as particularly awesome. It's more cool than shocking.

The most recent surprise twist that came to mind was Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. As one of my favourite directors, I always trust Tarantino to bring the goods. When I first heard he was finally bringing this much-delayed script to the silver screen I had never imagined he'd literally change the outcome of the Second World War. Tarantino took revisionist history to a whole new level.

Set aside for a moment the already-surprising double-death face-off between the films heroine, Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent) and Nazi superstar, Frederick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl). I honestly never anticipated that Tarantino would kill off Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler in a hail of bullets and flames in a movie theatre in France. Shoshanna's final act of vengeance against the Nazis coincided with the elaborate Operation Kino, which was under the control of Lt. Aldo Raines (Brad Pitt) and his Basterds. The end result was explosions and raining bullets, killing every person in the theatre (who had gathered to watch Nation's Pride, featuring Frederick's Nazi victory over a troop of Russians), while the image of Shoshanna laughs on the movie screen.

I was already surprised by the fact that Shoshanna died at the hands of her admirer, Frederick. It definitely was a bittersweet moment and I had never anticipated that Shoshanna and Frederick would wind up killing one another, let alone before they could both witness the destruction of the Nazi party. However, it's just like Tarantino to keep his audience on its toes when it comes to the fates of his characters, both good and bad. As it turns out, even historical figures have to watch their backs in a Tarantino feature.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any more outrageous, both plans by Shoshanna and Operation Kino take full effect and kill everyone trapped in the theatre, effectively changing the outcome of the Second World War and ending it well before 1945. In Tarantino's world, we have a young French woman and group of angry Jewish soldiers to thank for the end of the war.

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