After quite a few false starts, namely missing out on buying movie tickets on time before the movie left theaters in Hyderabad, getting hold of a few rotten prints of the movie where the audio and the video were not in sync, laziness and selection of other notable movies to watch before this one, and missing out on having the Missus as company to watch the movie, I finally got around to watching “Inglourious Basterds” yesterday, and man, was the wait worth it or what. A self professed Quentin Tarantino fan myself, I found this to be one of his most entertaining and fun movies to watch. In my opinion, this probably comes only behind “Reservoir Dogs” in my list of all time fave Tarantino movies.
The movie deals with two separate plots to assassinate the top Nazi political leadership, one planned by the owner of a French cinema and the other masterminded by a group of American soldiers who are called “The Basterds”. While the Frenchwoman finds herself in fortuitous circumstances in terms of actually managing to get almost all the top Nazi brass in her theatre for a high profile premiere of a German movie, the Basterds on the other hand get this assignment purely on the basis of their ruthless Nazi-scalping (quite literally) exploits in France.
Now, anybody familiar with the Tarantino school of filmmaking would immediately realize that when events like war, shootouts, scalping, etc are picturized by him, they are quite literally almost like the real thing. However, what makes these sequences worth watching is the sheer poetic fashion in which they unfurl on the screen. While some of them happen in slow motion with soul-stirring music playing in the background, others happen so suddenly and without warning that it takes at least 10-15 seconds for the viewer to figure out what actually happened. Now, given this deadly combination of speed, suddenness and poetry of motion, suffice to say that most of the action sequences in this movie are awesome.
This movie has its usual share of offbeat Tarantino-esque characters in the form of Lt. Aldo Raine (wonderfully under-played by Brad Pitt), the quiet determined Shosanna (played well by Melanie Laurent), the double agent actress Bridget Von Hammersmark (played by Diane Kruger) and a wonderful villain, Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz, a revelation in this particular role). And this ensemble cast adds a lot of their talents, personality to the wonderful scrip that Tarantino came up for his version of the ‘spaghetti western/macaroni combat’ movie that the Basterds actually is. Christoph Waltz in particular stands out for his wonderful portrayal of Col. Landa and the long list of Supporting Actor awards and nominations are proof of this.
If not for anything else, I would watch this movie for the wonderful liberties that Tarantino has taken with WW-II history, and the sheer audacity that he has shown in almost all elements of this movie. A sure-shot winner in his long portfolio of movies.