Inglourious Basterds (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/08/2009

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 153 mins

Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited Inglourious Basterds is a brilliantly written, well directed and genuinely thrilling war flick, with terrific performances from Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent and Christoph Waltz.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds (which steals the name from but is not a remake of the 1978 Italian movie) opens with an extraordinarily tense 20 minute sequence in which Nazi Jew-hunter Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) interrogates the owner of a French farmhouse before slaughtering the family of Jews hiding beneath his floorboards. However, a young woman named Shosanna (Melanie Laurent) narrowly escapes with her life, whereupon she runs away to Paris, changes her name and becomes the proprietress of a cinema, where she hatches a plan to kill the German high command (including Hitler himself) at a prestigious film premiere.

Meanwhile, American Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and his band of Nazi-scalping Jewish-American “Basterds” get wind of the premiere's special guests and hatch a plot of their own, aided by British Lieutenant Archie Hickox (Michael Fassbender) and German actress-turned-double-agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger). However, the crafty Landa is hot on the Basterds' trail - will he figure out the plot in time?

The Good
It's safe to say that this isn't the Dirty Dozen-alike action romp that the trailers would have you believe - instead, Tarantino breaks the story up into five chapters, most of which are built around a lengthy single scene. This allows for intriguing variations on the same structure: each scene is incredibly suspenseful with terrific dialogue (often in several languages – the transitions from language to language are a joy in themselves) and moments of jet-black humour, all of which eventually explodes in violence.

Pitt is superb as Raine and there's terrific support from Kruger, Fassbender and Daniel Bruhl (as soldier-turned-movie-star Fredrick Zoller) but the film is completely stolen by Melanie Laurent and Christoph Waltz, who deservedly won Best Actor at Cannes and is simply astonishing as Landa.

The Great
The film is jam-packed with quotable dialogue and memorable scenes, to say nothing of the typically brilliant soundtrack. There are also some frankly astonishing shots, most notably a laughing face projected onto smoke that's like something from a nightmare.

Worth seeing?
Inglourious Basterds is a tense, thrilling, brilliantly acted and superbly directed war flick that just might be Tarantino's masterpiece. Unmissable.

Film Trailer

Inglourious Basterds (18)
Inglourious Basterds has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 06:58

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