“Inglourious Basterds”

Quentin Tarantino’s new film, Inglourious Basterds, is the closest thing he’s done to his 1994 masterpiece Pulp Fiction, not in terms of its content, but in terms of its form.

The film includes a number of “chapters” (with separate stories that come together towards the end), several extremely violent scenes, brutally wicked humour, and the music is again mostly from the 1960s, ’70s, and early ’80s–even though this story in set in Nazi-occupied France from 1941-44! This approach completely works, though, in a “suspending disbelief” parallel to the hilariously-mispelled words of the film’s title, which were borrowed from the correctly-spelled title of a relatively obscure, 1978 Italian WW2 film.

Language and dialogue again play major roles in this film, often with beautifully-spoken German and French (usually subtitled) by highly-compelling European actors–men and women. There are even a couple of voice-only cameos by Pulp Fiction alumni Samuel L. Jackson and Harvey Keitel. Musically, numerous “spaghetti western” cues are used (some actually by Ennio Morricone), but even the film’s use of distorted rock guitar cues and of David Bowie’s 1982 song “Cat People (Putting out Fire with Gasoline)” do not seem at all out of place.

I wouldn’t possibly want to spoil the film’s story, characterizations, “extreme moments,” jokes, and so on here, but if you appreciate Tarantino’s earlier work (especially Pulp Fiction), can handle the violence, and don’t mind a highly fictional story interwoven with versions of several extremely real people (especially Hitler and Goebbels), then I would highly recommended this film.

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