This is a movie advertisement for Quentin Tarantino’s most recent film: “Inglourious Basterds.” I chose this advertisement because I recently saw the movie and loved it and thought that this image was a perfect summary of what the film was about.
This movie places comically gory twist on a group of men who gathered to kill Nazi’s in WWII. Tarantino plays with the concept of brutality by making the viewers of this film satisfied, even laugh at the killing of Nazi’s.
The image in the advertisement above, with the exclusion of text, is filled with gore and purpose. You see a man, as can be assumed from the arm hair on the forearm and hand above, holding a sharp knife dripped in blood, pierced through the Nazi emblem of an easily recognizable Nazi flag. So what is this movie about? Nazi killers, obviously.
But the image is deeper than just that. It sets a tone, a context. Perspective wise you might be a Nazi, lying on the floor after Brad Pitt just scalped you, or you could just be an onlooker narrowing in on the most important aspect of the story. The image is shot from a lower perspective, looking up at the bloody hand and arm holding the drenched knife. The shadowing parallels the background, dark, bleak, ominous, as the knife and flag stand highlighted, if not even spotlighted as the focal point of the image. Even the clothing on who can be assumed to be Brad Pitt matches the background, grey and unpronounced, while the red of the flag and blood appear highlighted signifying importance. The flag is tattered and torn, defeated, as the knife stands tall, victorious.
You then read the text, where, in true Tarantino form, mocks the image: “Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France… INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.” The text entirely juxtaposes the image. The image which seems dark and frightening as of a serious WWII movie is juxtaposed by the humorous, if not ironic text. Following the color composition of the image the text is read in whit font, with a highlighted red “o” in which is a bloody Nazi sign.
This photograph sums up the plot of the movie for it encompasses exactly what the movie is based on, the humor of killing Nazi’s, which outshines the dark background story. The text in this advertisement does the exact same, what lingers in a viewers mind isn’t the gory image of a bloody knife through a Nazi flag, but the provocative text that stands next to it, the humor that is meant to contrast the dark meaning.
I believe this advertisement is brilliant, it is a complete contradiction in and of itself but it is organized, purposeful, and effective.