August 21, 2009 Inglourious Basterds
Studio: Universal Pictures Rating: R For strong graphic violence, language and brief sexuality.
I don't think it's any secret that Quentin Tarantino films tend to divide audiences.
Some people love them, while others find them pretentious and talky, ultimately buried under the weight of their own cleverness.
His latest film, "Inglourious Basterds," is sure to recreate those feelings.
Set during a World War Two that isn't quite the same as the one we all know and remember, it tells the story of a special group of Jewish-Americans given a top-secret mission behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied France.
But those "men on a mission" aren't the only story this movie has to tell. Melanie Laurent plays a young Jewish girl whose family was killed by the Germans. She spends the next couple of years plotting her revenge against the Third Reich.
"Inglourious Basterds" delivers many of the things we've come to expect from a Tarantino film. It's beautifully shot with dialogue that you just don't hear anywhere else. On the down side, it's also a little bloated and could have used some editing in several scenes.
Those quibbles aside, it's a fun piece of movie making that is all over the map. At different times it's brutal and funny and poignant..and then it's brutal again.
Tarantino says he wasn't interested in making a history lesson, so throw just about everything you know about World War Two out the window. This film has no rules and anything can happen.
There is also some really good acting here. Brad Pitt is over the top as the man in charge of the "Basterds." Laurent's Shosanna is gorgeous and believable as a young woman out for revenge. The movie's bad guy is Christoph Waltz. He steals the show as the villainous Colonel Hans Landa. His scenes are the movie's best. I'm not the first to say this, but Waltz' performance is very worthy of an Oscar nomination. We'll see if the academy agrees.
On my rating scale, "Inglourious Basterds" earns a TRIPLE. It's not the best Tarantino film I've seen, but it's very, very good.
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