Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino's movies are not always perfect, but this one is.  Inglourious Basterds is one of the best, most entertaining movies I've seen in a long time.  Call it an alternative history of World War II, it focuses on a small band of American Jews who terrorize the Nazis in occupied France.  These are terrorists I can believe in, bringing down the baddest of the bad guys.  Their techniques may be violent and cruel, but they get results.

The danger of watching a movie like this is, even though you know the Nazis are the bad guys, you may find yourself rooting for the good guys' violent, cruel methods.  Then you have to think, isn't that how our enemies feel about us, and if they use violent, cruel methods against us, I would consider that morally wrong. . . . But then you think, this is just an awesome movie!  I'm not going to go scalp my enemies, I just love a great revenge fanatasy flick!  And what better revenge than a bunch of Jews killing Jew-killing Nazis!

Brad Pitt plays Lt. Aldo Raine, the leader of the Basterds.  He's actually probably not a Jew; he's a bootlegger from Appalachia.  He's hilarious, but brutal.  His nemesis, Col. Landa, the "Jew Hunter," plays the perfect wiley, charming Nazi officer.  Early in the movie, his men murder the family of Shoshanna Dreyfus,  who escapes to Paris and inadvertently becomes involved in the Basterds' plotting.  Each of these performances is fantastic.  In fact, Christoph Waltz won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Col. Landa.  There's not a bad performance in this movie.

Like many of Tarantino's movies, Inglourious Basterds has some elements of homage to classic westerns and war movies, but the originality and creativity of the writing and production make the movie fresh and fun to watch.  I loved the Kill Bill movies, but I think Tarantino has outdone himself with this one.

Bottom line, 4 stars.

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