Movie Reviews: Inglorious Basterds




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     Universal Pictures (2 hours 32 minutes)
     A group of Jewish American soldiers wage a brutal guerilla war against Nazis.
     Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Jacky Ido, Til Schweiger
Bottom Line:

Samantha Ofole-Prince

Possibly one of the greatest working directors of the 21st century, Quentin Tarantino brings to life with such exhilarating gusto the characters in his latest film about Nazi-scalping Jewish American soldiers.

As in “Kill Bill,” the story engine is revenge with the Nazis being the enemies and with all of Tarantino flicks, it has oodles of quality dialogue – a gift very few directors have mastered.

“Inglourious Basterds” – deliberately misspelled is the story of a group of guerrilla U.S. soldiers led by Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Pitt) in Nazi occupied France during World War II whose mission is to kill Nazis with swift, shocking acts of violence.

Told in three interconnected stories with a novelistic "chapter" format familiar to fans, Tarantino puts his unconventional storytelling to play with a particularly poignant opening chapter in which two men sit down for a discussion in a French farmhouse. One is SS Colonel Hans Landa (Waltz), nicknamed the “Jew Hunter” who has been placed in charge of rounding up all the Jews in France whilst the other is local French farmer Perrier LaPadite (Denis Menochet), who is extremely on edge and rightfully so as viewers soon discover. The rollercoaster scene which lasts fifteen minutes switches from subtitled French to English as LaPadite is delicately questioned on his affinity to Jews.

It’s a dark comical tread which continues in the following four chapters as we are introduced to other key characters including the numerous members of “the basterds," by narrator Samuel L. Jackson a familiar fixture in Tarantino’s projects. Key members include Hugo Stiglitz, (Schweiger) a German defector and Donny Donowitz (Roth), nicknamed “the Bear Jew” because he bashes the heads of German soldiers with a baseball bat.

Woven in this tale of retribution is Shosanna Dreyfus (Laurent) a Jewish girl who narrowly escapes the Nazi’s and flees to Paris where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema and French actor Jacky Ido who plays her confidante Marcel. Dreyfus is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own as is Bridget Von Hammersmak (Kruger) a German movie star and British spy. Thus, everyone is on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich and the question remains: will they succeed?

An exhilarating ride from start to finish, “Inglourious Basterds” is a perfectly sculpted flick with such depth, wit and blazing originality that it will stand up to repeat viewings.



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