Inglorious Basterds [Movie Review]

Before I can begin the actual critique of the latest flick from the house of Tarantino, I must reveal a terrible, terrible secret. As much as I love movies, the only Tarantino movie I have ever seen is considered to be one of his weakest and goes by the name of From Dusk Till Dawn. And the worst part? Tarantino didn't even direct the movie.

Of course I have heard the praise around Pulp Fiction as well as the Kill Bill movies. And even though Grindhouse was uneven for critics, it had a lot of charm and I wanted to see it. But honestly I just never got around to doing so.

Now things are different and I am no longer a Tarantino virgin, thanks to his totally badass new movie Inglorious Basterds. The direction dazzles, the acting is top-notch, and the story almost nails it.

Inglorious Basterds may have a fairly simple premise (dudes pissed off and killing Nazi's), but damn if it doesn't make for a badass epic. The plot is generally slow and is segmented into multiple chapters with just bursts of action at a time, but the script is absolutely fantastic. Tarantino proves his worth as a screenwriter here and the man has a powerful way with dialogue. The film is also surprisingly funny with plenty of humorous, crowd-pleasing scenes. I swear I yelled "whoa" and "holy shit" more than I have at any other movie this year.

But of course a good script is nothing without some dedicated actors, and this is another area where Inglorious Basterds excels. Of course the major star attached to the pic is Brad Pitt as the cheeky, almost cartoon-ish Lieutenant Aldo Raine. Pitt is wickedly funny thanks to that all-American accent he sports in the movie and I could easily argue that he is as funny here as he was in Ocean's Eleven or Snatch. Eli Roth is the demented Donny who was dubbed by the Nazi's as "The Bear Jew" and Melanie Laurent as the revenge-driven Shoshanna.

Another major plus for this cast has to be Christoph Waltz. While Brad Pitt may be getting all of the attention, Waltz consistently steals the spotlight. And it's easy to see why. Colonel Hans Landa is bizarre, quirky, absolutely maniacal, and genuinely likable. It's actually terrifying how much you like this guy, but I can effortlessly say that his performance as the Nazi antagonist of the film rivals the Oscar-winning role of the late Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Seriously, he's that good.

So what bad things can I say about this movie? Well the conclusion of the film was predicted from the beginning and it's not entirely true to history either. Another small wrinkle with the conclusion was that it wasn't entirely satisfying. The loose ends are tied up, but for some reason I felt I needed more (even though the film clocks in at a large 152 minutes).

But in the end, the good far outweighs the bad and Inglorious Basterds can quite easily be recommended to just about anyone who doesn't mind some excessive violence. Come to see Pitt, enjoy the directing, praise Waltz while leaving. So what are you waiting for? "Once Upon a Time, in Nazi-Occupied France..."


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