WWII revamped Quentin Tarantino style, Inglourious Basterds succeeds as the ultimate fantasy revenge story, a Kill Hitler which stands as one the best works in the career of its influential filmmaker.
Opening with “Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France” is a hint and a half as to what to expect from this violent fairytale, that refreshingly stands out from the ever increasing volume of WWII movies that have flooded cinemas in the last year.
Plenty of films have told plenty of horror stories from the ghettos, battlefields, and concentration camps spurned from the godforsaken war. Yet Tarantino has no interest in following suit, and thank God for that, as history is sliced and restructured to the grooving sounds of David Bowie and Ennio Morricone.
Divided into five chapters, Inglourious Basterds is less the men on a mission actioner its trailer promised, but rather a multiple storied, behind enemy lines espionage romp.
The Basterds referred to in the title are a group of Jewish American soldiers on a mission to brutally kill Nazi’s, and spread fear throughout the Third Reich. While the Basterds create havoc, the British hatch a plan to wipe out the top echelons of the Nazi party – including Hitler – who are all due to attend a film premiere, held at a cinema owned by a vengeful young Jewish woman (Melanie Laurent).
While Death Proof lagged with its pretentious babble, Inglourious Basterds proves that Tarantino’s knack for infectious and meaty dialogue is back in form, as is his talent for meshing dark humour with hardcore violence, which this film has plenty of both, with the latter in some cases overwhelming.
The seamless transition of Tarantino’s words as spoken in German, French, and English is enchanting, and is a credit to his well chosen mix of American and European actors.
Pitt’s turn as a thick accented southerner, who leads the Basterds in a mission to “dee-stroy” as many Nazi’s as possible, is a scene stealing comedic performance, delivered with tongue in cheek gusto by the ever impressive actor.
However the real star is Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who plays the multilingual, charming, brutal and ever persistent SS Officer Landa, lending humour and intelligence to what would be standard Nazi heavy.
Large in size and ballsy in its disregard for the weight of history, Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino back to his glorious and bloody best.