#253 / 365 – ‘Inglourious Basterds’ (2009) – 153 mins
IMDb Challenge #147 / 250 – Ranked #89 – DVD Collection
1944, Nazi-Occupied France. Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and his Basterds, a squadron of ruthless Jewish soldiers, must help the Allies try to wipe out the German High Command at a film premiere. The cinema, however, is owned by a vengeful Jewish survivor (Mélanie Laurent) with plans of her own.
Inglourious Basterds is, at its heart, a revenge suspense thriller, but one with tinges of slapstick and works only in the way Quentin Tarantino allows it to , much of it relying on the filmmakers smart signature of often quotable dialogue – “You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business; we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin’.”. Inglourious Basterds also comes up trumps because Tarantino lets scenes play out with deliberate unsettling shifts in pace and tone leaving the viewer to wonder when a secret will be revealed or when all hell is about to break loose, take the opening scene an example of this when Landa tries to drag out information from a scared French farmer.
As for the cast well Brad Pitt leads the glorious basterds into battle with a demonic but hilarious style showcasing his versatility as an actor. Diane Kruger is fantastic playing it straight as the German actress who turns traitor, as is the lovely Mélanie Laurent who airs a tranquil presence as the surviving daughter who plots revenge. But the film belongs to Christoph Waltz who most deservedly won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as Colonel Hans Landa aka “The Jew Hunter” a complex scripted character who Waltz makes funny, terrifying and smart every time the camera lingers upon Landa.