In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds, lead by Lt. Aldo Raine soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.
I'm sure it's suffice to say that everyone who's viewed films in the last ten-years knows who Quentin Tarantino is, and, undoubtedly, knows of his works. "Pulp Fiction", potentially being one of the best known and well-loved films of the last decade, is known to be the crowning achievement of his career, in the opinion of most (myself preferring "Reservoir Dogs" and "Jackie Brown" significantly more), but, more importantly, it is recognized as a cultural icon like nothing else he's ever done.
The man himself is practically untouched by critics, these days, and right should he be. His works seem to be all but flawless in these years of passing. "Kill Bill" being a most wonderful venture into the grounds the man continues to cover: A fun, clever romp into genres and styles that inspired so many filmmakers, dabbling in homage that are tightened so perfectly with his excellent writing style and stylish direction.
So, it stands to reason that his newest film, "Inglourious Basterds", would continue this tradition, right? Yes. Yes it does.
In 1941 France, during the Nazi occupation, Colonel Hans Landa of the SS, has a family of Jewish-French dairy-farmers murdered, with the exception of the teenage daughter, Shosanna. Meanwhile, a team of Jewish-American soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine, have been terrorizing Nazi-soldiers throughout Europe, all leading to an ending tour in France, where surprising twists of fate have lead to a most fortunate situation involving the surviving Jewish girl, a British film-critic, and a German actress-turned-spy.
As odd as it is entrancing, the story host several involved and interesting characters all along their separate paths before meeting at a fateful premier in a small cinema; of course, this leads to a long, expansive story that I can really only share a small portion of without revealing too much, but, it is, without a doubt, Tarantino's most sprawling spic yet (more so than "Kill Bill" and at half the length). Paying less attention to his infamous use of hyper-stylization and with a heavier focus on the plot developing around the characters, as well as a lighter approach to his use of homage and reference to the genres of old that he loves so much, he created a much more deep and involving idea, but that's not to say he's ignored his infamous fashion, what reason would we have to see the movie then, right?
Truth be told, this is probably the most Tarantino-esque Tarantino movie yet, and hands-down his most complete film to date. Almost all the performances shocked me more than I could hope to say (even Eli Roth... I know!), with an amazingly hilarious turn-out by Christoph Walts as the genius detective of the SS, truly stealing the show away from even the more likeable of the protagonists (though, it's hard to walk away liking ANYONE more than Waltz) with is charismatic performance. The use of gratuitous violence against the backdrop of impressively well-written dialogue with a damnable amount of wit, although a token of the man's filmmaking style, made for yet another highly original masterwork under the guise of a nerdy film-wank of the highest caliber, but isn't that what we love these movies for, anyway?
The look of it all could possibly be the most impressive feat that the film accomplishes, truly adopting the same look and tone of the 1970s revenge/Nazisploitation film this one takes such refuge in, but it still feels so incredibly odd when used in such a complex and well-assembled film, almost embarrassingly so. The writing makes it seem almost parody like, as the feel of the movie booted from a tense, war-time, espionage thriller to a gory humor-littered Tarantino status-quo and back again.
All that said (little as it was) there wasn't much I could fault this one for. Given it three viewings, at the time of this writing and plan to give it many more, may have possibly beaten-out "Reservoir Dogs" as my favorite film from the man, and definitely stands out as his best. Give it a shot; I doubt you'll regret it.
- added 12/19/2009, 12:12 AM
I'd give this a 9/0 for Christoph Waltz alone. I
certainly hope that he gets an Oscar nod.
- added 12/19/2009, 12:22 AM
100% agree with Darrin. 9/10
- added 12/19/2009, 09:36 AM
God I loved this movie. And yes, another one
hoping Waltz takes that bald golden bastard home.
- added 12/21/2009, 12:35 AM
This was the best Tarantino movie I've seen...but
he never really agrees with me to the fullest.
- added 12/22/2009, 04:58 PM
10/10. Nothing more.
Rest Easy Soul
- added 09/16/2010, 12:11 AM
I usually don't like Tarrantino's work, love him
as a director just not the art. This movie was the
exception though. It was made of win and awesome.