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August 08, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Basterdsposter1 Quentin Tarantino has matured as an auteur even if he's as prone as ever to creating funny-ha-ha sequences of joyous cinematic revelry just for the sport of it. He deploys virtuosic use of character, dialogue, suspense, and surprise in each of this film's five chapters. A tense opening sequence sets Tarantino's darkly comic yet heavily dramatic tone with Nazi Colonel Hans Landa's (diabolically played by the incomparable Christoph Waltz)—and his small group of soldiers— visit to a remote farmhouse inhabited by dairy farmer Perrier LaPadite (Denis Menochet) and his three daughters. The objective, naturally, is to search for Jews whom LaPadite may be hiding. A polite battle of wits and willpower between the two adversaries plays out with a savory cinematic drama that is astounding in its precise execution. The following chapter introduces Tennessee-born Lt. Aldo Raine (played with gusto by Brad Pitt), who indoctrinates his elite squad of Nazi scalpers with a speech spun of richly-humored narrative gold. The following four chapters build on one another toward a new kind of World War II fantasy climax that is cathartic as it is bittersweet for its inevitable collateral damage. Loosely inspired by Enzo G. Castellari's 1978 B movie of the same title, "Inglourious Basterds" (purposely misspelled) is a five-course meal created by one of the world's finest chefs. Not since Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" has anyone made a film that's as much fun. Tarantino masterfully employs an economy of action, thought, and movement that takes you on a wartime journey you will never want to end. Every film that Quentin Tarantino makes is a cinematic event of mammoth proportions, and this one is no different. It lives up to the director's brilliant international reputation, and accordingly so does he. "Inglourious Basterds" is Tarantino's best work yet.
Rated R. 152 mins. (A+) (Five Stars)


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