Showing posts with label Diane Kruger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diane Kruger. Show all posts

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Inglourious Basterds

Set in Nazi occupied France, Inglourious Basterds is a film that took Quentin Tarantino over a decade to write and produce. Multiple plot threads, an ever expanding script and difficulty with the movie’s conclusion meant that from first to final draft, a decade had elapsed. The completed script is one of pure Tarantino penmanship. Featuring ideas of revenge, duplicity and malice while scattered with pop references, albeit from a different era, Inglouious Basterds is as Tarantino as a Mexican stand-off in a Big Kahuna Burger Restaurant. Nominated for eight Academy Awards and taking over $320 million worldwide, it is also one of the director’s most successful to date.

Split into five chapters, the film focuses on the efforts of two sets of people to bring down the Third Reich. Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) is a young Jewish woman who, early in the film, escapes death at the hands of the gifted ‘Jew Hunter’ Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Having dodged an early grave, Shosanna relocates to Paris where she runs a small cinema which we shall come back to later. Meanwhile, elsewhere in France, the Basterds, a group of American Jewish soldiers, led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) are scouring the countryside in search of Nazis to bludgeon and scalp. When the Basterds hear that the entire Nazi high command will be in Paris for the Premier of Goebbels latest propaganda film, they set in motion a plan to end the war the very same night.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Unknown is a smart and interesting psychological thriller set in modern day Berlin. It stars Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, who along with his wife arrives in Berlin for a Biotechnology summit. Things start to go wrong for Dr. Harris though when the taxi he is riding in plunges off a bridge and into a river. When he wakes up in hospital four days later he has trouble remembering what happened and worse still, his wife doesn’t recognise him and is with another Dr. Martin Harris.

The film follows Neeson on his quest to uncover the facts behind his memory loss and stolen identity. While Neeson does nothing out of the ordinary, he is suited to the role. (To see Neeson in his best role for a long time click here). Along the way Neeson is both helped and hindered by a fantastic, mostly European cast, including Diane Kruger, seen in Inglorious Basterds who is fantastic as the driver of Neeson’s ill fated taxi. Bruno Ganz, famous for playing Hitler in Downfall as well as countless YouTube parodies excels as an ex Stasi agent who helps Neeson uncover the truth. Sebastian Koch who was fantastic in Black Book and also appeared in the masterful The Lives of Others plays a Professor at the summit and he is joined by Karl Markovics from The Counterfeiters who here plays a well meaning doctor. Along with these fine European actors, Frank Langella joins the cast and the only weak link in the whole cast is January Jones of Mad Men fame who as far as I can tell must surely still be getting roles due to her looks as she is as wooden as ever here.

Another star of the film is Berlin itself which looks beautiful. Set in November, the film shows both Berlin’s famous sights as well as the grittier side which I personally love. The concrete buildings of East Berlin help to add to the coldness of the film and a car chase through snowy streets is a highlight.

The twist is not totally obvious and is left for the third act. When it does unfold it is welcomed and the whole plot falls into place. While the film is in no way perfect it is a decent thriller with enough action to go along with its fine acting. It is a far better film in my opinion than Neeson’s recent thriller Taken.