Inglourious Basterds (R, 153 minutes): You know when you’ve seen a Tarantino: characters chatting incessantly, bright colors, shock-value gore, an homage to a cinema style and haunting music mixed with clever filmmaking techniques.
Sometimes a Tarantino works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Inglourious Basterds is a Tarantino that works. You hate to say it’s right off the old Tarantino assembly line, but it does have all the aforementioned parts.
Depending on your interpretation, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds either parodies and/or pays homage to Kelly’s Heroes and The Dirty Dozen. And it’s all packaged in the Pulp Fiction template.
Personal disclaimer: I’ve always liked old-school war movies, and I love Tarantino movies. So, I squealed like a little girl as I soon as I heard that Tarantino was working on a war movie.
The trailer can be a little misleading. You’re led to believe that Brad Pitt is going to get a lot of screen time as the leader of a group of Jewish-Americans soldiers who are tasked at terrorizing Nazis in German-occupied France during World War II. Pitt has a big part, but other storylines are tied together in Pulp Fiction style.
You’ve got Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna, the revenge-filled survivor of a Jewish family killed by the Nazis.
Pitt’s character, who has a pronounced Appalachian accent, is knee-slapper funny and you can’t wait for his next line (especially when he says “Natt-zees.”)
But the scene-stealer is Christoph Waltz as German Waffen-SS Col. Hans Landa. He’s charming, deadly and intimidating, all at once, and seems to have mastered the Tarantino technique of sitting at a table and chatting someone into submission while the camera moves around them.
Don’t go searching the Military Channel looking for historical context to this movie or go in being Mr. World War II Buff. Inglourious Basterds is revisionist history, or better yet, in an alternate universe, like Terry Gilliam’s Brazil but not as weird. Whichever, Inglourious Basterds is an entertaining vision.
One thing’s for certain, it’s a Tarantino.
BEST TIME FOR A BATHROOM BREAK: I have now turned this over to Runpee.com, which recommends the scene 75 minutes in when Pitt’s character complains about meeting in a basement.
DATE MOVIE: Sure. But be warned: Tarantinos are mostly guy movies. You’re probably going to owe someone a chick flick.
TAKE YOUR KIDS: It’s rated R. If you do, don’t take the tween or pretween. There are better options.
EXTRAS: Mike Myers, Wayne of Wayne’s World, makes an appearance as Royal Army Gen. Ed Fenech. Party on, Wayne. … B.J. Novak plays Pfc. Smithson Utivich but seems to be playing his old character Ryan from The Office. … For grins, look up Nation’s Pride on YouTube. It’s the fake trailer of a fictional Nazi propaganda film. It’s in the same vein as Tarantino’s awesome fake trailers in Grindhouse.
AVAILABILITY NOW: It’s on DVD and Blu-Ray and edited versions show up on cable on weekends.