Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger
As the influence of Hitler’s Third Reich begins to spread rapidly across Europe during the Second World War, a group of Jewish-American soldiers self-proclaimed the Basterds are called in to kill and scalp any Nazi they come across in an attempt to strike fear into the heart of the infamous dictator. Before long, the Basterds find themselves unknowingly in cahoots with Parisian theater owner Shosanna Dreyfus, her parents killed several years prior by Nazi soldiers, as a fateful run-in with a German war hero sets into motion a series of events that could forever alter history and put a much-needed end to Hitler’s reign.
Tarantino’s latest can quite easily be considered both a triumph and one of the acclaimed writer/director’s best efforts to date. What Basterds provides us with to support such a statement lies partly within QT’s overly frenetic yet refreshingly original style of writing and the sometimes cartoonish editing that often coincides with it; a formula that if applied to a previously vapid World War II setting would potentially blow the minds of theatergoers everywhere. This being said, the film in question does just that, thanks to some wonderfully charismatic and just plain hilarious characters in conjunction with a purposeful ignorance towards political history that succeeds in every way possible.
One very noticeable difference this time around is, needless to say, the excessive amount of dialogue present within Tarantino’s exceedingly brilliant script. Having witnessed a good deal of this upon viewing a vast majority of his past efforts, Death Proof notably, what Basterds offers here is essentially conversation after conversation that’s chock full of humor, suspense, and perpetual intrigue. Furthermore, the aforementioned cast of characters and the multilingual nature of their personalities, Pitt’s Aldo Raine and the like excluded, provides for the utmost attention to be paid at all times if the viewer wishes to fully immerse themselves in such an awesome experience. With these conversations also comes a heaping dose of violent, almost dementedly over-the-top action sequences that effectively had my jaw glued to the floor for their duration, thus satisfying myself and others when moments of unbearable suspense offered by way of said dialogue come to an inevitable climax.
Another noticeably different yet welcome addition to QT’s tried and true film-making formula is the incredibly diverse yet spot-on casting choices and the excellent efforts put forth by just about all of them. In fact, it’s most definitely Christoph Waltz’s performance as the villainous Col. Hans Landa that reinforces this statement wholeheartedly, with worthwhile efforts from Brad Pitt’s hilarious turn as Lt. Aldo Raine and his band of Basterds following close behind despite a couple of questionable exceptions. Mélanie Laurent is also quite stupendous (and flat-out gorgeous) as the central female protagonist Shosanna Dreyfus, effectively rounding off an already stellar cast of both amateurs and veterans alike.
To conclude, Inglourious Basterds is both Tarantino’s best effort in years and another one of this year’s very best. His always appealing stylistic touch and a sensational ignorance exhibited towards those events surrounding World War II are truly what sets this film apart from others of its type, along with a simply magnificent cast to top it all off. However, if you wouldn’t necessarily deem yourself a die hard fan of his body of work, the lengthy stretches of dialogue and obvious excess of subtitles will very much get on your last nerve. This aside, Basterds is without a doubt one of the year’s best and the first respectable film of its type in ages.