Inglourious Basterds

screen-capture-2Where to start with this one? Quentin Tarantino has basically taken every spaghetti western cliché he can think of mixed it into a Nazi war movie and patched it together with a movie soundtrack that takes you back to all those big epic movies. Too bad he forgot to make any characters you actually care about. If he was paying homage or just being derivative of spaghetti westerns or war epics, he must have missed the part where they (the inglorourious basterds of the title) are the good guys, where they have a code that puts them above the bad guys (Nazis) and where the characters, though flawed, have distinct personalities.

I know the reviews are mostly positive for this one, but I feel like the kid who says that the emperor has no clothes. I really liked Reservoir Dogs, and Pulp Fiction, too. I saw what he was after and even appreciated Natural Born Killers despite the violence. I will admit I skipped the Kill Bills, though they are on the long list to view at some point. But this one, I cannot see what he was trying to say. You have a Jewish squad of Nazi killers. I get that. Taking scalps. Okay. But then we take the time to introduce other characters only to have them killed a couple of scenes later. Brad Pitt’s character is so underdeveloped, it seems like he just showed up at the set, donned his hillbilly accent and went with it.

The main plot of the film concerns two separate conspiracies to kill Hitler and his entire Nazi leadership at a movie premiere in Paris.

Tarantino's big joke

Tarantino's big joke is on the audience

On the one side you have Brad Pitt and his Basterds aided by a German actress double agent and the other conspiracy is headed by the owner of the movie theater herself a Jew who barely escaped from the hands of the infamous “Jew Hunter” Col. Hans Landa at the beginning of the film. Neither of the groups ever knows of the other’s plans.

While the previews feature Brad Pitt as the main character, you really don’t get much of him. Instead, Christoph Waltz playing Col. Hans Landa is the star of this movie. Landa moves between both groups, and gives the movie its only realized character. Ultimately, the entire story depends on him, a charming, multi-lingual, Jew-hunting Nazi with allegiance to no one but himself. There is lots of laughter at violent death in this movie and in the end nothing really has any weight. I cannot say I would recommend this to anyone I know, male or female. Oh, and it is really long. Running time:2 hrs 33 mins

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