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4 reviews, 55 user ratings

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Inglourious Basterds
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Full metal Quentin."
5 stars

In "Inglourious Basterds," the quintessential Quentin Tarantino scene unfolds again and again: a long, sinister conversation between someone with power and someone without. Usually, but not always, the powerful person is a Nazi, imposing on someone’s time at excruciating length; it’s rambling as triumph of the will.

None of this is as boring as it may sound: Tarantino plumbs these sequences for considerable suspense. When will the Nazi get to the point, or go away, or just kill someone and break the tension? The menacing one-sided chat goes on and on, while the listener sweats and tries not to give up whatever information is being demanded. In Tarantino-land, the Nazis don’t have to torture you; they talk to you.

Brad Pitt and his merry band of “Basterds” are less loquacious (though Pitt, too, uses the chatty method of extracting info). This group of Jewish-American soldiers, led by Pitt the Gentile hillbilly, prefers to rough up their Nazi prey, often for the sheer bullying fun of it. A glowering Boston Jewish bruiser, played by Hostel director Eli Roth, emerges from the shadows with a baseball bat and ends a frightened German soldier rather messily. The Basterds’ story is interwoven with that of a French Jewish girl (Mélanie Laurent), who escapes the Nazis early on and winds up managing a Paris movie theater; she has violent plans of her own. Pitt and Laurent are two sides of the same vengeful coin, with movie-love giving it a hot spin.

Tarantino always sets out to make The Ultimate Movie of Everything Quentin Loves. Inglourious Basterds is his brutal-cool reverie on war, though until the very end he stops short of wholeheartedly enjoying the sadism — the young, terrified German soldiers Pitt mutilates are humanized as much as the victims of the Nazis, and sometimes we feel that those German soldiers are victims of the Nazis, unpolitical kids conscripted into an insane system they might not believe in. The chief villain is an elaborately inquisitive “Jew hunter,” a Nazi colonel who in saner times might have been a great detective; sportively played by Christophe Waltz, this Nazi is allowed depth of motive and layers of feeling about what he does. He’s also a bit of a boor, endlessly impressed with himself.

The marquee star is Brad Pitt, and he turns in a one-note performance — malevolent amusement, mostly — though the note is consistently entertaining. The 26-year-old Mélanie Laurent, an actress to watch, sprinkles her deadpan with barbs of rage and grief. Once again, a woman walks away with a Tarantino film, and he cheerfully lets her take it. Inglourious Basterds is a long, strange pop artifact, studded with instant-classic moments and sealed with a legitimately great image of a laughing face swathed in fire and smoke — even if the entire film were junk, it’d be worth it for that shot alone, an immaculate essay-in-pictures about the power of cinema. As always, Tarantino works with a heady mix of playfulness and classical rigor, and getting out of L.A. and America — as he also did with Kill Bill — adds a pleasant old-world gravitas to his play. He may appreciate the Basterds on a bad-ass Lee Marvin level, but the French girl who shows movies — and shows that the dream Leni Riefenstahl helped build can be blown apart the same way — is his true hero.

I don’t know whether "Inglourious Basterds" is Tarantino’s masterpiece (it’s too early to say), but it proves he’s still a master.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18344&reviewer=416
originally posted: 08/22/09 21:47:55
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Festival de Cannes For more in the 2009 Festival de Cannes series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Fantasia Festival For more in the 2009 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell not tarantinos best sorry 2 say 2 stars
5/30/15 Martel732 Vainglorious, White Guilt Tarantino, Racist Jew Eli Roth 1 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC Foriegn Language was never this fun! Col. Hans Landa stills the show!!! 5 stars
1/28/11 Derek Special mention to August Diehl. His acting was phenomenal in the famous bar scene. 5 stars
6/10/10 Flathead King This movie makes one wonder who are the good guys? 1 stars
6/09/10 Serge Loved it, courageous, wild, my favorite Tarantino! 5 stars
4/28/10 TreeTiger What a superficial piece of self-indulgent Tarrantino feces! 1 stars
4/10/10 matt the slow realization that everyone in the room is about to die. 5 stars
3/28/10 Charles Tatum Immensely watchable and suspenseful 5 stars
3/14/10 Phil M. Aficiando Intriguing and imaginative; moody; what else from QT? Bravo Waltz. A+ production values. 4 stars
3/01/10 Founder An (in)glorious piece of macabre craftsmanship, and Tarantino's best since Pulp Fiction 5 stars
2/26/10 Captain Ted When no-ones watching, I sometimes dress up like Big Bird 1 stars
2/23/10 Peter North good. not great, but good. 3 stars
1/29/10 ron tarantino classic at its best. 5 stars
1/18/10 art PURE COMIC BOOK stuff! 1 stars
1/12/10 Quirinius Snobb Don't take this movie seriously. If you do, you won''t like it. 3 stars
1/11/10 dane A MASTERPIECE 5 stars
1/07/10 Monday Morning Terrific story and amazing performances - especially by Christoph Waltz. Mesmerizing. 5 stars
12/15/09 Pitt After making nothing but shit this decade, Tarantino finally gets it right 4 stars
12/13/09 mwilde boring, stupid, shallow 1 stars
12/09/09 Jeff Wilder Easily Tarantino's best film since Jackie Brown. 5 stars
12/07/09 matt oh my god... what a movie. eli roth mows down... oh just watch it. absolutely amazing 5 stars
11/22/09 SirGent Quintessential Quentin! A sprawling,nearly perfect film & one of the years best. 5 stars
10/12/09 kris overrated and disappointing 3 stars
9/25/09 Akemi Gardiner One of Tarantino's best films yet. 5 stars
9/23/09 damalc not really sure what to say, but i liked it 4 stars
9/21/09 Roy Smith In my top 5 for 2009. Beautiful dialogue, great action. 5 stars
9/18/09 Phineas Anti-White, Vainglourious Racist Jew Basterds, Vainglourious Basterd Tarantino. 1 stars
9/13/09 Pj I wanted to applaud at the end. Wonderful experience! 5 stars
9/10/09 MP Bartley Tarantino rediscovers how to make brilliant films again. 5 stars
9/08/09 Brian Mckay Great actors + solid writing + excessive length + obnoxious self-indulgence= TARANTINO! 3 stars
9/05/09 O Wellings History-twisting revenge flick/film homage mingles gratuitous cruelty, knee-shaking tension 5 stars
9/03/09 Freya Excellent show. Must go see it again and will definitely buy the DVD. 5 stars
9/02/09 maverick yeti how do i always get suckered into tarantino? 2 stars
9/02/09 2Cruzy Great dialogs & Action... Ran a little long, but worth the $$ and effort to see this flick. 5 stars
9/01/09 mr.mike The critic called it "long and strange". He said a mouthful. 4 stars
8/31/09 Aiax dramatically unspectacular. endless dialogue cannot conceal the lack of depth and motive. 1 stars
8/31/09 Drew Great movie 5 stars
8/30/09 BoyInTheDesignerBubble A telented director makes an OK movie. 3 stars
8/30/09 Luisa Ran a little too long, but the end was worth waiting for 4 stars
8/27/09 The Great Lee Card slams your face into a bat with blood all the f over it. definitely engaging. 5 stars
8/26/09 R. G. Ranade Audacious, exhilarating, challenging - the finest movie Quentin's made since Pulp Fiction. 5 stars
8/26/09 geojohnstone Quentin needs a history lesson-garbage 2 stars
8/25/09 Rosa Kleb Pure brilliance 5 stars
8/25/09 mark Boring? Lol. This movie is riveting, the dialogs are the best in the last 10 yrs. 5 stars
8/25/09 SylvesterFox007 "Overrated" and "boring as hell" were the words that kept coming to mind during the movie. 1 stars
8/25/09 scotty I actually loved this more than Pulp Fiction. 5 stars
8/24/09 KingNeutron Some great directorial moments and nail-biting conversations 4 stars
8/23/09 Bubbus The only good scenes are ripoffs of Sergio Leone's movies. 2 stars
8/23/09 R.W. Welch Imaginative. Maybe a little too much so. Near classic oily villain. 4 stars
8/23/09 Quigley Amazingly entertaining; one of the years best films. Quentin is back with a vengeance! 5 stars
8/23/09 Joe Smaltz Well it's no Pulp Fiction, but I didn't fall asleep. Christoph Waltz stole the show! ! 3 stars
8/22/09 Darkstar Best Tarantino movie since Pulp Fiction, and my new favorite movie of 2009. Awesome!!!!!!!! 5 stars
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  21-Aug-2009 (R)



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