by Wade Manns
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Rating: R, for strong graphic violence, language, and brief sexuality.
Length: 153 minutes.
Tarantino has returned for his latest cinematic masterpiece, and it is quintessentially Tarantino. He’s taken the formula that he used so well in Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill and applied it to the World War II setting we see now. Whenever we see a Tarantino movie we expect to see a somewhat disjointed sense of time, long scenes of exposition, brief scenes of highly controlled yet at times chaotic violence, and highly likable yet highly brutal characters. These elements are out in force in this movie.
The film is divided into chapters, and starts quietly enough, in a peaceful French farmland, but it soon turns into a bloodbath, with a greasy yet ingratiating Nazi Jew Hunter by the name of Hans Landa (Christopher Waltz) very calmly interrogating a farm owner whom he suspects of harboring Jews. Though it does not end well for the hidden inhabitants of the small house, there is one survivor, Shoshana (Melanie Laurent) — and she turns out to be the linchpin of the entire movie.
The second chapter introduces the Basterds, abandoned Jewish-American soldiers under the command of Lieut. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), who have been given a mission to land in Nazi-occupied France; Raine, however, switches the play up a bit, and tells his men to sow as much fear, discord, and terror among the Nazis as they can, mainly by scalping their victims, and they do, quite a bit. Eventually they discover an event involving the attendance of several top personalities in the Third Reich, and decide to take this opportunity to prematurely end the war. Such a task, however, is complicated by the fact that Shoshana, from the beginning of the movie, is plotting the exact same thing without the Basterds’ knowledge.
There are so many juicy details and minor characters and an extreme amount of narrative that Tarantino is famous for, but I cannot bring myself to spoil much more of it for you. All you need to know is that you need to see this movie as soon as possible. It is an excellent addition to the “Tarantino-verse,” and even includes many in-jokes and references to his older movies which his longtime fans will get. I’m giving this one five stars, not only because I’m a fan of the director, but because it is an awesome movie in its own right.