I finally saw Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds on home video a few weeks ago. It was the first Blu-Ray movie I have seen from Netflix and I was very favorably impressed with the latest film from the man who brought the world Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.
The film uses a similar conceit that was employed in Kill Bill, in that the story is split into chapters, which are basically filmed set pieces.
Of course, most films are actually structured as a series of filmed set pieces, but Tarantino writes and directs his film in such a way that the narrative backbone is immediately apparent to the viewer.
Although Inglourious Basterds was released in 2009, I didn't see it until the first few days of 2010, so although it would have definitely made my Top 10 (probably even the Top 5) list of best movies of 2009 and I want to be a stickler about the rules.
Inglourious Basterds has now been nominated for 8 Academy Awards: Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Sound, Sound Editing and Best Supporting Actor. In fact, Christoph Walz has won nearly every Best Supporting Actor award this year (Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, etc etc) and is considered a lock for the Oscar. He plays Cololnel Hans Landa, an urbane Nazi, more commonly known as "The Jew Hunter." It is a part which tears up the scenery, but I am not really that big a fan of the performance.
The film's plot contains typical Tarantino flourishes: sparkling dialogue, bloody violence, broad humor and strong female characters. The story has been described as a Jewish revenge fantasy, since it is about an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler (and most of the top leaders of the Third Reich). It also features Brad Pitt as Lieutenant Aldo Raine who recruits and leads a team of Jewish-American soldiers to kill and scalp Nazi soldiers. Aldo and his gang become so successful that even Hitler himself knows their name. I thought Brad Pitt was excellent in the part. Other standouts for me were Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmarck and Michael Fassbender as Archie Hickox. Mike Myers has an amusing cameo as British general with a pitch perfect British accent.
Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino's most commercially successful film and is probably his best film to date (although I have a soft spot for the Kill Bill movies, but it really shouldn't take 4 hours and two movies to tell that tale).
Running Time: 2 hour, 33 minutes. MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong graphic violence, language and brief sexuality.
OVERALL GRADE: A/A-.