Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Nazis

Inglourious Basterds
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Year: 2009
Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz,

Diane Kruger and Melanie Laurent

Only in a Quentin Tarantino film would there be a baseball bat wielding antihero who is called "The Bear Jew"

Suffice to say, Inglourious Basterds is anything but a history lesson on World War Two. Don't expect a Schindler's List type movie, hell, forget crying in general. What Tarantino ignores from history he makes up by drawing from the timeless Spaghetti Western genre to create a world where the Jews are mad as hell and are scalping Nazis for leisure, where the most renowned German actress is also a spy for England, and Hitler...well, let's just say he has a much gorier demise than his actual death.

Told in chapters that establish the film and create a large ensemble of characters, Basterds is a classic revenge picture, filmed with striking reds, an unflinching eye at violence, and dialogue that only Mr. Tarantino himself could conjure. The Basterds, led by a delighfully scene chewing Brad Pitt, are Jewish solders who are want to strike back against the Nazis by scalping the SS men and carving Swastikas into the surviving Nazi men's' foreheads. Hitler wants them taken out, but with the premiere of an upcoming propaganda movie, the Basterds rely on the help of other Nazi hating rogues to go in for the kill.

Also in the mix is Shosanna Dreyfus(An enigmatic Melanie Laurent), a Jewish woman who watched her family get shot to death by the Nazis four years earlier. Now the owner of a movie theater, one that gets extra special attention from the Nazis, Shosanna concocts her own revenge plan to infultrate and obliterate the Nazis.

While the Basterds are integral to the story, the real shining glory is Christoph Waltz, who takes a Hannibal Lecter like approach to his cold and creepy Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. Poised for the win of Best Supporting Actor, Waltz is surprisingly serene and utterly compelling in all of his scenes. It's talent like this that deserves the utmost of recognition.

For what it's worth, Inglourious Basterds delivers enough violence inflicted on the ultimate of criminals, the Nazis, to satisfy even the most seasoned of people. It may not be totally serious, or historically accurate, but all of this only adds to the fun and chaos that runs amuck in the film. And, if anything, see it for Brad Pitt's hilarious and multi dimensional turn at Aldo Raine, the unlikelist of heroes imaginable.

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