I am a huge Quentin Tarantino fan. Naturally when Inglourious Basterds came out I was at the theater opening weekend. This is his newest movie. Written and directed by one of the greatest directors of our time, this movie is phenomenal.
We start off in Nazi-occupied France and follow the story of two people with one goal. Shosanna Dreyfus, played by Mélanie Laurent, is a crazy young Jewish girl who escapes the massacre of her family and finds refuge with her alleged aunt and uncle. Lt. Aldo “the Apache” Raine (Brad Pitt) is the southern born leader of the Basterds, a group of American and French soldiers who cruelly slaughter Nazis as a hobby.
The plots are intermingled as both Shosanna and the Apache, each ignorant of the other, plan and attempt an assassination on not only Hitler, but also most of his regime during a movie premiere.
The acting in the film is superb. Pitt is as hilarious as ever, and with his southern accent you’ll be cracking up every time he opens his mouth. I was wary of Tarantino’s choice to cast friend and co-director Eli Roth as Sgt. Donny “the Bear Jew” Donowitz, a presumably mad Nazi murderer, but the pick was spot on. The part couldn’t have been played by anyone else. Some of the lines were delivered with a little less skill: Marcel, Dreyfus’ African-French lover, for example; but, overall, the acting was great.
As always, Tarantino is a master with the camera. He is an artist and the camera is his brush. Throughout the entire movie I was amazed at his perfectly set up scenes. He drives just near enough the conventional to have the audience fall asleep before flipping it on its head to remind them they’re watching Tarantino. He breaks every cinematographic rule, but always with a carefully planned reason.
The plot, while a little unorthodox (what would you expect?), is very easy to follow and quite fun. This movie is a Western at heart, and it’s really fun to see how Tarantino changes this genre. I really sympathized with some of the characters, and others, while not quite deserving of my sympathy, were definitely fun to watch on screen.
If you can’t handle watching blood on screen this is a movie to stay away from. There are things shown I never thought I’d witness in my life. Many Nazis are scalped (at the request of the Apache) and some fall to an even more brutal fate. Violence might be a theme in this film, and more is witnessed on screen than off.
If violence is a theme, then suspense is its twin. More time is given the audience to imagine the ensuing bloodbath than time to actually witness the carnage itself. Like with any good narrative, you’ll be on the edge of your seat and you won’t even notice the nearly two and a half hours that pass.
This film is not for everyone. Squeamish people, nursing mothers, and the elderly would do best to avoid it. Other than that, if you like action, suspense, and seeing people getting cruelly dismembered, this is a must see.