In the first year of the German occupation of France, Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.
Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish American soldiers to perform swift, shocking acts of retribution. Later known to their enemy as “the Basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquis, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own….
The only director in history that can be associated with his style, with as little as a song, is back with his 6th big bang effort. What makes Quentin Tarantino’s newest film so divine isn’t the acting, it’s more the ten years prior, fueling his fire to make one of his dream projects, that some would call an “epic,” WWII film…his way. Taking it into his own hand to rewrite natural history, and give it his own special spin was one of the more enjoyable things I’ve been a part of this year.
It’s World War II, in a Nazi occupied France. A group of Jewish-American soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) are on the war path, specifically aiming to scare the holy hell out of the Third Reich, with methods of brutality, and scalping their dead Nazi opponents. This group of men, known as “The Basterds,” are full of style, charisma, and the courage to look into the eye of their enemy, making them laugh, before dying a violent death. On their path to victory, they come across a teenage Jewish runaway (Melanie Laurent), who now runs her own cinema in France. That very cinema, happens to be the one Hitler, and a room full of Nazi’s will be attending shortly to see a German driven war story. This could be “The Basterds” chance to bring down The Third Reich, and end World War II all by themselves. It will of course take the help of the beautiful Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger), to make the plan of attack go into full swing. What “The Basterds” don’t know, is that they may meet their match in Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) who had been given the nickname “The Jew Hunter” by his peers. He will stop at nothing to be the best at what he does. Lt. Raine, and his group of inglourious fellows, are the only men who could put a stop to the madness.
Since the ball dropped in January, ringing in the new year, “Inglourious Basterds” was the only other film aside from “H2” that I couldn’t wait to wish the months by to enjoy. Round 1 is over ladies and gentlemen. The “champ” is back at it with his 6th cult smash knockout. The movie as a whole has random slow points, but they are spaced out accordingly to keep you wanting more. The cinematography is ridiculously sharp, and the dialogue is one step behind, nipping at its heels. Even with the rag-tag group of actors Tarantino chose to be his “Basterd” cast, you were able to grow to love people you’ve never seen in a film before. Christoph Waltz as “The Jew Hunter” was what Quentin was excited the most about, to share with the world. I was in awe. He had never even met Tarantino before, but walked on the set, and after three or four lines, stunned everyone nearby. I wouldn’t count him out as an award contender. Don’t even get me started on Brad Pitt as the film’s lead role, Aldo Raine. He couldn’t have been funnier in his awkward, but hard depiction of a bad ass, heavy hitting war hero. I said prior that Eli Roth couldn’t act well, but after seeing the baseball bat toting, skull smashing, Donny Donowitz, I changed my tune pretty quick. As always, Tarantino picked two unknown beauties (Kruger and Laurent) to make you want more when the credits rolled. Aside from the slow points, “Basterds” lived up to what I expect from Q.T. every 3 years. Thank you for never disappointing.
The Blu-ray edition includes some special features: extended and alternate scenes, roundtable discussion with Tarantino, Pitt, and Mitchell, The Making of ‘Nation’s Pride’, and a number of featurettes that are definitely worth your time.
Review by Charlie Giltenboth