Sunday, August 23, 2009

Inglorious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino takes his time making films but his results never disappoint."Basterds" is his latest triumph. This is a revenge fantasy farce, clear from the start, whereby Mr. Tarantino rewrites history in a most entertaining fashion. The films works on every level and if there is anything I can find fault with, it's probably some minor editing in a couple of scenes.

The trailer doesn't even begin to reveal the complexity of the story. It misleads you into thinking this is just a film about a squad of Jewish soldiers killing Nazi's during World War Two in occupied France. It is that but so much more. In fact, there are actually just a few scenes of the "Basterds" actually carrying out their missions. While some of these scenes are violently graphic, most of the violence is implied and off screen. The film really concentrates on it's characters and they are all fascinating to watch.

Brad Pitt is obviously enjoying himself as Col. Aldo Raine, the leader of the "Basterds", but the film completely belongs to Christoph Waltz as the charming but very evil Col. Hans Landa. Whenever he is on screen, the tension is unbearable. It is a remarkable performance that should easily be nominated at Oscar time. Melanie Laurent shows great range as Shosanna Dreyfus, especially in a restaurant scene with Col. Landa.

Mr. Tarantino's writing and direction is terrific. It is clear that he loves film, referencing cinema past and treating his actors with much generosity. The film is comical and yet, deadly serious with terrific tension induced scenes. The opening chapter, in particular, is spectacular from the first shot to the last.

All of the dialog is spoken in native languages so there is much use of subtitles but don't let that stop you from enjoying one of the best films of the year.

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