Tarantino’s new masterpiece “Inglourious Basterds

Alexander Kohnstamm

As perhaps the biggest Quentin Tarantino fan out there, I can tell you that his latest film uses all of his usual devices and more to create one of his most exciting movies yet.
The marketing of “Inglourious Basterds” would have you believe that it is an action flick about Lt. Aldo Raine, played by Brad Pitt, and his band of Jewish-American soldiers killing lots of Nazis. Tarantino’s revisionist take on World War II actually unfolds as more of a series of suspense-driven conversations, which Tarantino is renowned for creating, and this narrative style makes the two-and-a-half-hour movie pass with such intensity that it will leave you in awe.
In Tarantino’s alternate version of Nazi-occupied France, the plot follows two separate plots to kill Hitler and his top generals. The location of this plan is the premiere of Joseph Goebbels’ newest propaganda film, in which an actual German war hero, portrayed by Daniel Brühl, reenacts the events that brought him glory.
The first plot follows the life of a theater owner, a French woman formerly known as Shosanna, played by Mélanie Laurent, who is hiding her true Jewish heritage and wants the Nazis out of France.
The other involves the “Basterds” of the film’s title, a gang of Jewish-American soldiers led by a Tennessee mountain man who is part Apache, hence his love of guerilla warfare and scalping. Coordinating with British intelligence, their goal is to somehow infiltrate the premiere to take out the top Nazi officials.
Sticking his curious nose into all of these proceedings is the creepy Nazi Colonel Hans Landa, played by Christoph Waltz. Waltz’s ability to carry on a conversation that is casual yet mixed with a dark undercoat of menace — in three languages, nonetheless — makes him a mesmerizing presence on the big screen. His performance also makes him a near-lock for a best supporting actor Oscar nomination. Waltz is arguably one of the smartest on-screen psychopathic minds since Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Right from the beginning, Tarantino makes it clear that what we are seeing is not a reality, but rather an alternate reality, an alternative reality that — emphatically — is a movie. Tarantino brilliantly mixed the standard concepts of World War II movies with not-so-subtle nuances of spaghetti westerns, something any Tarantino fan will recognize.
Tarantino fans will also recognize other hallmarks of the director: the seemingly important character who suddenly and unexpectedly is killed, the endless talk about cinema and pop-culture, the Mexican stand-offs and of course the focus on female form.
The story in “Basterds” is strong enough to support these quirks, unlike other films such as “Death Proof”, Tarantino’s last flick, which were not able to do so and ended up making the whole process very tedious. Tarantino’s added touches to “Inglourious Basterds” truly come off as a cherry on top that makes the sundae that is “Basterds” that much sweeter.
To finish it all off, I am Jewish, and it was satisfying to watch a film in which Jews kill Nazis and show them no mercy. I absolutely adored this film and I recommend this film wholeheartedly to all film enthusiasts.