"Inglourious Basterds" (Universal Pictures)
Quentin Tarantino made a pretty unique film when he crafted "Pulp Fiction," but everything that followed has been less than that one. Until now that is. He has come roaring back to quintessential Quentin with Inglourious Basterds, a raucous, rousing, rip-roaring gem of a movie. You will probably either love it or hate it and I find myself surprisingly in the love category.
The film must be considered a fairy tale in that it begins "Once upon a time...." and everything that follows is not limited by actual history in any sense. It is the screenwriter's take on how things might have been. World War II still takes place and the Germans are still the bad guys., but everything else is fair game.
The plot concerns a group known as the "inglourious basterds" who are headed up by a good ole' Tennessee boy named Aldo Raine (somewhere Aldo Ray is smiling). He has eight men under his command and their job is to kill and scalp Nazis. It seems Aldo has some Indian blood in him.
The group is dropped behind enemy lines to cause havoc with the German troops. Later on they get caught up in an operation that involves cinema star Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger). She is working with the Allies and is ready to risk her life to help end the war.
The movie is filmed in lush color and with a soundtrack that suggests a Serge Leone western. Tarantino gets wonderful performances from all his cast with Pitt being as good as or better than he has ever been. He milks that good ole boy persona for all it is worth.
The outstanding performance in the movie is the one delivered by Christoph Waltz as German Colonel Hans Landa. This role requires him to be sinister while being silly, and evil while acting mild. Landa's personality runs the gamut and Waltz never misses a beat.
Kruger is also good as the daring actress while Melanie Laurent has some great moments as Shosanna Dreyfus, a person dragged into some of the of the most sinister aspects of the film.
Audiences should be aware they are going to spend much of the movie reading subtitles. The characters speak German, French and Italian at various times in the film. There are some moments of English but they are few and far between.
The movie is rated R for profanity and violence.
Tarantino knows how to build up the suspense and how to let it go. Some scenes are more over the top than others but this is vintage Tarantino and so the more the better. He also knows how to completely fill the two hour and thirty two minute running time of the film by adding a twist here and a turn there.
Inglourious Basterd" is probably the most unique film you will see this year. It doesn't play by the rules and strangely that makes it even more enjoyable.
I scored "Inglourious Basterds" a totally glorious 8 out of 10.
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