The Inglourious Basterds review you’ve been waiting for

Inglourious BasterdsWhile I’m still digesting the amazing experience the Berlin premiere of Inglourious Basterds has been, I have not been idle.  The following is an excerpt from my opening paragraph of a review of Inglourious Basterds, click the link below to finish reading the entire text. I’ve tried to keep spoilers to a minimum but depending on how much you already know about the film, be warned, there are minor spoilers included. Some say Tarantino’s fans are his harshest critics, and that’s probably true. After thinking long and hard about the film… here are my humble words on it:

“You’re getting pretty good at this”, says Sgt. Donny Donowitz aka “The Bear Jew”, played by Eli Roth, as Lt. Aldo Raine aka “The Apache”, played by Brad Pitt, carves a swastika into poor Private Butz’s forehead. “Practice is what gets you into Carnegie Hall” Aldo replies, triggering spontaneous laughter from the audience, as the implication truly is that this wasn’t and won’t be the first Nazi experiencing this special treatment. But Aldo Raine, the Lieutenant leading The Basterds, is not the only one who’s getting pretty good at this. While Raine has been killing and scalping the German occupiers in France behind enemy lines for weeks or months while building up a reputation of fear and terror among the Nazi forces, Quentin Tarantino has been making dead-on-the-money cinema about cinema (for cinema lovers) for years. Each time he makes a movie, it’s like carving a swastika into somebody’s forehead. It’s a bloody work of art. There will be plenty of folks who will admire such inglourious work, and of course, there will be some who hate it. With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino is again splitting the camps, months before the movie even opens. The most outspoken people who line up against his films are usually those who just don’t “get” him. For the most part I think that’s the truth, maybe they have the wrong expectations, but for those who love his movies, they love them for what they are, what they stand for, and what they do.

Towards the end of the film, we see good ol’ Tennessee boy Aldo Raine yet again, carving a swastika into the forehead of a victim screaming in pain. “This might be my best work yet” he proclaims. This scene is played not without the meta-irony and a poke into the ribcage of critics who will hone in on this proclamation like vultures. Could this truly be Tarantino’s best work yet? Inglourious Basterds is a masterfully crafted, detailed and overwhelming epic, telling a story of how cinema saves the world. Yet it’s also not the action film the movie advertisements suggest. It’s a dialogue and character-driven adventure in Quentin Tarantino’s pastel-colored version of World War II. It has some very strong scenes, an amazing finish, a multi-national and multi-lingual cast, great music and cinematography. It might not be for everyone, and it’s not without its flaws either, but if you love and appreciate cinema, like Tarantino does, this movie will put a smile on your face and tears in your eyes: tears of joy……


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Sebastian is the founder and owner of the Tarantino Archives and has been a fan and observer of QT for over two decades now, cherishing his work and the window in the the wider world of cinema his movies have opened up. Inspired as such, he runs the Spaghetti Western Database (SWDb), the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb), Furious Cinema, its German sister Nischenkino and The Robert Rodriguez Archives. He lives in Berlin.

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