Inglourious Basterds

by George Watches Things

Inglourious Basterds is not your average movie. Considering I’ve only seen one other, I cannot speculate on whether this is your average Quentin Tarantino film. But I have a feeling it is.

It’s set in WWII France, and opens with Hans Landa, Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz as the “Jew Hunter,” interrogating a man who runs a dairy farm. The scene is tense, and not a single line of dialogue is wasted.

The film moves on to feature a woman named Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent) and a troop of Nazi-hunters (the titular Basterds) who both plot to blow up a theater full of Nazis at a propaganda film premiere in Paris.

Like some other members of the Tarantino canon (including many I have not seen), Inglourious deals heavily with morality and vengeance. But it is also has cartoonish moments (just like Pulp Fiction, whose unexplained title explains that), and the script is smart enough to never hang on one tone too long. The intimidating successes of Hans Landa are contrasted with the clever scheming of Melanie Laurent and the Basterds are thrown in for punch (although not literally, since they have bats and guns to do their dirty work). They all come together for a bizarre, but fully entertaining finale.

Brad Pitt was great fun in the lead and Christoph Waltz was both scary and utterly mesmerizing.

Michael Fassbender was excellent in one of the more dramatic of the roles in the film. Another one of my favorite supporting performances comes from the man in the opening chapter. That scene is long and not that eventful, but never dull, thanks to him and Waltz.

At the end of the day, you’ll probably have to determine how you feel about what happens at the end of the film. Some have called Tarantino out for it, but I’m completely fine with it, and have actually learned something about myself from it.

My rating: ****

Inglourious Basterds was an enthralling thrill ride (for me, at least). At times hilarious, at times very serious, but never boring.