Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Inglourious Basterds, will disappoint if you’re looking for the sequel to Pulp Fiction. You’ll get your fix of violence—but the strengths of this film are rooted in its masterful dialogue and storytelling, making it one of, if not the greatest revenge fantasies ever told.
Bill, of Tarantino’s last film Kill Bill, is a pretty nasty foe. He asks Beatrix, “Do you find me sadistic?” before he blows her brains out and steals her baby. We root for her as she slashes through person after person to get to Bill. In the end of Volume 2, when she lies weeping from joy on the hotel bathroom floor, we laugh and cry with her. But Tarantino’s taken it one step further in his genre of villain. This time, it’s the Nazis. And instead of going through a middleman, namely, the Allies, to ensure that the scum get their comeuppance, Tarantino has handed the sword (or, in this case, the baseball bat) directly to the Jews. What ensues is the most exciting movie I’ve seen in years.
The opening scene of this film is the perfect example of suspense—it’s agony to watch, but you’re totally incapable of not watching. Hans Landa, colonel of the SS, arrives on a French farm to tell the owner that his house needs to be searched, again, for Jews. Landa’s manipulation of the English language is so deft that it wears the farmer down, word by word, until he eventually must give up the ghost. It’s a terrifying sequence, and only proves that Tarantino’s talent not only lies in his ability to mix violence and humor, but his dialogue, which has the uncanny ability to seem completely realistic, and alien at same time.
Unforgettable performances from Christoph Waltz, who will undoubtedly be nominated for an Oscar, Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, and practically the entire cast, coupled with an insane attention to detail in costume and art direction has made WWII into a Western, complete with trading card heroes and heroines. But in respect to its nasty history, the ending of this film can only be described as pure, unadulterated catharsis. Bravo Tarantino. Bravo.