Inglourious Basterds

Rated 4.0

The new Quentin Tarantino joint is an extravagant fiction in an ostensibly historical setting—a twisted sort of fairy tale, exuberantly “incorrect” in more ways than one, and riffing on war movies and World War II, mixing darkly comical fantasies with flagrantly caricatured slivers of historical reality. Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and his dirty-dozen style band of Jewish commando/avengers are the title characters and the foremost figures in the film’s publicity. But the character given the most screen time—and the most central and tangled role in the assorted strands of Tarantino’s brashly fanciful narrative—is Col. Hans Landa, the Nazi officer played by German actor Christoph Waltz. Waltz’s standout performance, an offbeat blend of suave menace and cartoonish geniality, is a keynote for the film as a whole. But Landa, Raine and the Basterds are only part of the story. Among the many other characters of note is Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent), a Jewish resistance fighter whose family was murdered by Landa. Even a movie that gleefully subverts the clichés and stereotypes of conventional war movies remains partly dependent on those same clichés. When the events involved are World War II and the Holocaust playing that game gets even more problematical. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated R