Film Club / We Should Shoot Him in the Face

Ex MachinaInglourious Basterds
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

 

 

 
 

“Nazi ain’t got no humanity” – right? 

They’re history’s bad guys. They’ve got skulls on their caps. Their little logo thing basically translates to “pure evil.” Hell even if Buddha met on a Nazi on the road then Buddha would have to punch that Nazi in the face. It’s the only moral thing to do. 

Obviously I’m not dumb enough to try to argue with any of that. And hell yeah – I remember the first time I watched this movie I was cheering along with the climax along with everyone else. Nazi high command getting massacred in a storm of bullets and fire? What’s not to love? Not to mention the pure sick thrill of watching Eli Roth machine gun Hitler to death. I mean it’s a good thing in itself. But there’s also the extra level of transgressive deliciousness that comes from the fact that in every other World War 2 movie Hitler is covered all over with invisible plot armour. I mean yeah sure you can piss him off but you’ve never allowed to actually – you know – properly kill him. 

Fuck that says Tarantino. We should shoot him in the face. A lot. 

And you know – what can you say to that? Five stars. No notes.I think the one big thing which separates mediocre artists from great ones is that mediocre artists are far too concerned with morality. They want to make sure that both them and their art say and do the right thing. They want to be morally upstanding and broadcast important moral truths and ideas to the audience. They want to edify people’s minds and instruct them on the finer points of ethical sophistication. They want to make the world a better place. 

And great artists? They just want to have fun and fuck you over a little bit. 

Actually scratch that. They want to fuck you over a lot

I mean – partly you could say that shooting Hitler is about moral retribution. It’s about showing the power of cinema to tip the scales of justice to make right the things that went wrong and even – oh wow – to reshape reality itself. But mostly (and I could be wrong here) I think Tarantino just did it because he thought it would be cool. 

If you watch Inglourious Basterds . without really paying attention that it seems like it’s all just a typical war movie. You’ve got your good guys as personified by Bradley Pitts and his Inglourious Basterds. Going around scalping Nazis and bashing them in with basebats. And then you’ve got the evil Nazis as personified by Hans Landa with his silver tongue and duplicitous cunning. 

You know that Hans is bad because of that very first scene where he kills the Jewish family and erm… let’s Shosanna go? (Wait a second – why does he do that?). And you know that Brad Pitt is good because in his second scene he’s scalping Nazis and cheering on from the sidelines watching a guy getting beaten to death. Oh wait – sorry. Did I say “guy”? I guess I should have said Nazi right? “Nazi ain’t got no humanity.” I mean – look at Nation’s Pride right? Private Zoller up there in his bird’s nest shooting all of those soldiers. Isn’t that terrible? He’s killing all of those people. He doesn’t recognise their humanity. What kind of sick and evil person takes joy in seeing human beings being killed like that?). 

But of course the biggest head fuck of the entire movie is that – in the world of the movie – the biggest hero is Hans Landa. I mean: can you imagine if we lived in a world where one single Nazi was responsible for ending World War 2? They’d be bigger than Jesus. Children would grow up being told about him at school. He’d be on T-Shirts. There would be movies made about him (“Hans Landa and the Inglourious Basterds”). 

That would probably make Aldo Raine the bad guy right? The man who permanently scarred the hero of the world. I mean damn – people would probably want to see him suffer. Hell – they’d probably want to see him killed. 

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