The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

Grade: A-

Starring: Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruehl, Til Schweiger, Jacky Ido.

What happens?

Nine Jewish-American soldiers, called "The Basterds," are sent into Nazi-occupied France during World War II to wreak havoc by brutally killing any Nazi they find. Meanwhile a French-Jewish girl who owns a cinema plots her own revenge against the Nazi who killed her family.

Why it earns the A-:

Quentin Tarantino's style of directing is described on Wikipedia as using, "aestheticization of violence." That means that he enjoys bombarding his audience with mind-blowing violence. And boy, is this movie graphic. No character is safe and no death is gentle. You'll see every slice, every bat swing, and every bullet piercing flesh. But, because it's Tarantino, the cringe-worthy scenes lapse into long dialog-driven periods that accentuate the ensuing slaughter and reveal the quirky characters.

Brad Pitt is comically successful as the Tennessee-native leader of the Basterds, with his twangy, irreverent, unapologetic accent. In fact, all of the characters' nationalities are exaggerated so that everyone is an unadulterated caricature of themselves. Eli Roth -- yes, the director of Cabin Fever and Hostel -- appears as "The Bear Jew." Mike Myers even has a small part as a genteel British agent. Christoph Waltz plays Hans Landa, the German Nazi Colonel who is so giddy about everything he does that you're lured in by his optimism right before he chokes you to death. And, listen closely -- Samuel L. Jackson provides the occasional narration.

The movie succeeds beyond its characters, though. Always stylized, the scenes are shot with so much confidence and intimate love for movies that even the lulls in action are awe-inspiring. Wait for the theater scene near the end -- it is perhaps one of the best scenes I've ever seen in a Tarantino film.

In the end:

It's a funky, gratifying film with all the fun and derision we expect and long for -- almost everyone dies but you come away feeling completely satisfied.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at

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