A movie 10 years in the making, one director Quentin Tarantino himself acknowledged to not being able stop writing and consequently had an influx of extra material enough for two (or possibly three) movies, not mention this excludes the conclusion that forced Tarantino to put the script aside and go onto his other works, such as “Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2” and “Death Proof”. After completion, the director put himself in quite in bind when he promised the new WWII movie would be in next years Cannes Film Festival. Let it be known that production commenced in October 2008, giving Tarantino only a few months to complete his project for France’s most praised film event in May. Immediately there began predictions that the film would not be up to par with his other very successful films because he would rush himself to completion. Bias aside, I can say Quentin Tarantino has made the most powerful, mature and best film to date since “Pulp Fiction”. Which film topples the other is yet to be determined, but another showing or two for comparison will surely answer my question. One would say, this review is by a Tarantino fan and can’t be taken seriously by any others. And they would be correct about me being a fan, hence higher expectations and a more drastic result if not met, so I can assure you, I speak for most people.
The movie consists of two subplots that converge into one epic finale. The first consists of a young Jewish-French girl, Shoshanna Dreyfus, (Melanie Laurent) on the run after witnessing the murder of her entire family by the hands of the of the Nazi detective, Col. Hans Landa AKA The Jew Hunter, played by a one Christoph Waltz, whose performance earned him the Best Actor at the Cannes Film festival; and he will surely get nominated for an Oscar. He brings such charm to the screen with his upbeat wit, yet at the same time, eventually beats the others into submission with his convincing words of intimidation. “Can I please have another glass of your delicious milk”, he says with such manner. The French farmer, who is sheltering Shoshanna and her family at the moment, knows that he is caught and the only way to save face and avoid humiliation is by betrayal. There’s a little basterd in everyone in this movie.
The second subplot introduces the Jewish –American squad known as “The Basterds”, led by a Tennessee twanged Brad Pitt. These are not your typical soldiers. They are meek, scrawny Jews (mainly played by comedians or TV sitcom stars) but with such attitude that you don’t see it coming. The irony of the weak terrorizing the empowered; it’s sort of brilliant. Some of the actors are just cameos and fill ins, but that is acceptable due to the fact that the Basterds that actually matter, matter for a damn good reason. Eli Roth, who we all know as the torture-porn director, plays Boston born Jew Sgt. Donny Donowitz (The Bear Jew) with such obnoxiousness that it’s comical. Come to think of it, the movie itself is a comic book fairytale, none of this really happened because the main characters are made up, but had they existed, this is how Tarantino would want WWII to end: his characters rewriting history, and most will agree.
The other Basterd worth mentioning is Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz whose introduction is about on the same level as Donowitz’s as the best character introduction in a Tarantino movie to date. The nod goes to Roth’s character due to the Ennio Morricone’s wonderful western track “The Surrender (La Resa)” that summons him from the cave where he precedes to brain a Nazi to death with a Baseball bat in such brutal relentless fashion and go on a hilarious Boston-accented rant about baseball, Fenway Park, and Teddy Williams.