Tarantino creates a masterpiece in the form of some "Basterds"

Two years after his last film was released as part of the double feature film Grindhouse, director Quentin Tarantino returns in fine form with the World War II flick, Inglourious Basterds.
Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France, Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) hires several Jewish soldiers as an elite destructive force known only as The Basterds. Their mission is to spread fear among the Third Reich by eliminating every German soldier that they run into using deceptive and gory methods of dispatching the enemy. Meanwhile, a young French-Jewish woman (Melanie Laurent) puts into motion a revenge plot of her own that will put several prominent members of the Nazi party in one area.
Aside from the alternate change of the title, Inglourious Basterds is not related to the 1979 Italian B-movie. This movie is in a league of its own when it comes to World War II films by turning that genre on its head. The story is interesting as it is placed in an alternate timeline in World History where Tarantino’s characters do not know they are not part of history. The story also manages to have humorous and tragic moments exist hand-in-hand in several scenes in the movie. He also has the power to establish a great character in a movie and then suddenly take that character out of the picture ruthlessly (like John Travolta’s hit man in Pulp Fiction). Inglourious Basterds is not an exception as a handful of established characters drop like flies throughout the film, leaving the audience that not knowing what is going to happen next.
Tarantino assemble himself a fine and interesting ensemble for Inglourious Basterds, in which everyone in the cast manages to get their time to shine.
Tarantino manage to cast fellow filmmakers Till Schwieger and Eli Roth as two prominent members of the Basterds. Schweiger is introduced as Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz in a bloody flashback featuring him using ruthless and creative methods in killing his fellow German soldiers and narration from Samuel L. Jackson. Roth plays Sgt. Donny Donowitz, a Boston resident who is known as “The Bear Jew” to the Nazi party because he uses a baseball bat (signed from fellow Jewish Bostonians with names someone they are worried about in Europe) to bludgeon his enemies to death.
Following in the footsteps of Pam Grier’s Jackie Brown and Uma Thurman’s The Bride, two actresses play two femme fatales, in which both of them would like nothing more than to see the Third Reich go down in flames. Diane Kruger, who has been known as the woman-in-peril in movies such as Troy and the National Treasures movies, manages to hang with the guys as German actress-turned-double agent Bridget von Hammersmark by using her celebrity status and quick thinking to fool anybody it needs to take to complete her mission. Melanie Laurent’s role as Shosanna Dreyfus is incredibly unforgettable as she transitions from a scared young woman to a woman with revenge in mind by using a movie theater she owns in Paris as a deathtrap for the Nazi regime.
The most famous face in Inglourious Basterds would have to be Brad Pitt as he plays a former bootlegger from Tennessee with an unexplained scar across his neck, Lt. Aldo Raine. His first line in the movie is a monologue, which performs up to par with Samuel L. Jackson’s famous monologue in the apartment scene in Pulp Fiction. As the mouthpiece of the Basterds, he uses a good-ol’ boy accent for humorous or menacing scenes. For example, the way Pitt uses his accent and put the emphasis on “Oblige Him” that sets in motion something dastardly. One of the funniest scenes in the film is where he is posing as an Italian film director and manages to mangle the Italian language thanks to his accent with such words as “Arrivederci”.
The standout performance in the film is Christoph Waltz as Nazi SS agent Col. Hans Landa. He manages to be charismatic and diabolical at the same time. He manages to put himself among the ranks of recent memorable villains with the likes of Anton Chigurgh (Javier Bardem) from No Country for Old Men and the Joker (Heath Ledger) from The Dark Knight. Look out around award season, as Waltz’s portrayal unforgettable evil to receive accolades and a possible Oscar in his future for Best Supporting Actor.
The soundtrack is very interesting as it basically composed of several scores from legendary composer Ennio Morricone that were used in such 1960 films as The Return of Ringo, The Battle of Algiers, Death Rides A Horse and The Big Gundown. Tarantino also pays tribute to several men-on-a-mission films with scores featured prominently in the film from movies like The Dirty Dozen and Slaughter. He also manage to use the 1982 David Bowie song Cat People (Putting Out Fire) in a scene set in 1944 Paris and make it work as it set the tone for the rest of the film.
Inglourious Basterds is on the top of my list as best movie of the year with Quentin Tarantino returning to what he does best by creating unforgettable characters, writing an incredible screenplay and assembling a tremendous international cast.

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