Since Indiegamers canceled at the last minute, I went to see Inglorious Basterds on the spur of the moment.
To start this review, I am going to quote the first paragraph of Roger Ebert’s review:
Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” is a big, bold, audacious war movie that will annoy some, startle others and demonstrate once again that he’s the real thing, a director of quixotic delights. For starters (and at this late stage after the premiere in May at Cannes, I don’t believe I’m spoiling anything), he provides World War II with a much-needed alternative ending. For once the basterds get what’s coming to them.
IG is a violent movie. Its typically Tarantino esque in many ways. Its playing with time and space. Stylized action sequences. Discursive excursions in dialogue. Characters that are created and inhabited to a capital “C”.
Like many good movies, the center of this film is not the protagonists. Not Pitt’s Lt. Raine, not Melanie Laurent’s Shoshonna Dreyfus, a Jew who escapes the villain in the opening sequence to construct a revenge as ambitious as the Basterds’.
No, the center of this movie is the villain. Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa, SS. “The Jew Hunter.” He describes himself as a detective. He is charming, subtle, charismatic, a monster, and everything you would want in a movie villain. He is a memorable character created by Tarantino and inhabited by Waltz.
Yes, there are some weaknesses in the movie, and like many Tarantino films, there are portions here which don’t quite jell with the others. I think Pitt is probably one of the weaker castings in the movie, for instance. And the movie is wincingly violent.
There are many strengths in the movie besides Waltz. Much of the non-Pitt casting is excellent. Tarantino gets to do riffs in his classic style. (I had no idea about the flammability of old nitrate prints!). The movie remained more than entertaining throughout. It was definitely immersive.
This is not really a war movie starring Brad Pitt. It’s something different, and more. Detractors and those who have disliked Tarantino’s previous work are not going to be convinced by this movie, I think his fans and those perhaps agnostic on Tarantino’s work are going to appreciate and enjoy it.