Vail Review: ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is somehow glorious
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Let’s run through some of the telltale signs we’re watching a Quentin Tarantino film. Vengeance … check. Characters with silly nicknames … check. Suspenseful and intense conversations over dimly lit tables … check. Quirky, clever dialogue … check. Progressive violence that eventually builds to bloodbath … check.
So nobody can say the man doesn’t have style. Pair his unmistakable motif with the popular global and historical opinion that the Nazis sucked, and bam, Tarantino has a winner.
“Inglourious Basterds” not only comes with a healthy dose of all of the above, but also a star-studded international cast, each of whom delivers an ingenious performance.
The story begins in Nazi-occupied France in 1941. A group of soldiers, including “Jew Hunter” Colonel Hans Landa (played by Christoph Waltz), arrive at a peaceful farmhouse to interrogate the farmer about a Jewish family in the area who is unaccounted for.
Tension is built, terrified eyes peek out from under floorboards, tears are shed and things get shot up.
Immediately pegging himself as the true bastard – the absolute demon antagonist – the Jew Hunter lives up to his name. Even the most unvindictive of you will find yourselves on the edge of your seats waiting for the moment in the film when Tarantino has him tied up in some sort of torturous leather bondage or has his fingers pulled off one by one.
Don’t get your hopes up, though … this never happens. But the premise is set. Nazis are evil and someone needs to do something about it.
That’s where the Inglourious Basterds step in – a team of American and escaped German Jews who are hell-bent on ambushing Nazis and scalping them. These renegades are led by Lt. Aldo “the Apache,” a red-necked Tennessee warrior with a goofy mustache played to laugh-out-loud-in-spite-of-yourself perfection by Brad Pitt.
The most uproarious moments of comic relief come when Aldo, in the middle of a scheme to trick the Nazis into thinking he’s Italian, fires off a “buongiorno” and an “arrivederci” in about the loudest hillbilly voice you’ve ever heard.
As it turns out – in yet another unsurprising element that’s reared its head in Tarantino films before – the Basterds are not the only faction plotting a massacre for the bad guys … or condoning one.
Those of you who don’t like watching someone stick a finger in an oozing bullet wound or repeated close-ups of a bunch of dudes getting the tops of their heads sawed off with a knife will still be able to enjoy the sounds of such even if you cover your head with your jacket. Also, as happens in Tarantino films, characters you grow to like might just suddenly and unceremoniously be blown away.
That said, “Inglourious Basterds” brings enough action, suspense, wit and dark burlesque to make you walk away feeling impressed.
E-mail comments about this film review to firstname.lastname@example.org.