Rating: 3/4 (Take out the Basterds and it is a fine cinematic experience!)
Having watched my first Quentin Tarantino movie, Inglourious Basterds, I can safely conclude that this man is part genius and part insane! The fictional movie is set in Nazi occupied France, where Jews are being extracted and sent for execution with surgical precision by a Colonel Hans Landa. A girl Shoshanna escapes from one such execution and hides away in Paris with a new name and identity. Meanwhile, a team of Nazi hunters from USA called the Basterds drop into France with the sole mission of killing SS officers and soldiers using brutal methods. The paths and motives of the Basterds, Shoshanna and Hans Landa intersect at a grand movie opening in Paris which is attended by the Führer himself.
First the praise. There are several pieces in this movie which are supreme cinematic experiences. The opening act between the French farmer and Hans Landa for example. It is shot with such precision, eye for detail, tension, entertaining dialogue and expression that it transforms a simple interview into a lip smacking delight for any movie lover! Inglourious Basterds is full of such brilliant edge-of-the-seat compositions that I barely noticed the insane 02:30 hour length of the movie. Tarantino is helped with some magnificent acting by Christoph Waltz (playing Hans Landa), he deserves accolades for his performance here. He electrifies and enthralls in his every single scene.
And then there is the bad. The Basterds themselves! Brad Pitt is horrible with his accent and pomposity. And the gore, my God, the gore! In a super-slick-ly produced movie, do we really need to see scene after scene of the Basterds cutting apart bloody scalps of Nazis off their bloody skull? Does anyone enjoy watching in horrifying detail a Basterd (The Bear Jew) beat an alive Nazi to bloody pulp? Surely, the insane part of Tarantino’s brain is at work here! The Basterds and their atrocious activities jar horribly with the flawless rest of the movie. Dear Tarantino, I would have rather enjoyed your Inglourious Basterds without the Basterds themselves.