Inglorious Basterds is a peach of a movie which was a welcome return to form for Quentin Tarantino after the disappointing reaction to schlock double-bill, Death Proof and Planet Terror. Here, we decamp to northern France on a dizzying mission that enthusiastically fuses casual violence with sadistic pleasure as a group of allied guerrillas plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, the film tips its hat at the hideously-dubbed, low-budget Macaroni Combat films of the 1970s but it does not do so slavishly. This is not “Once Upon a Time in Nazi-occupied Paris“, Basterds is a brilliant piece that twists its hero/anti-hero character-play all ends up.
Christoph Waltz is a dominating presence throughout the film as the mesmerising SS ‘Jew Hunter’ Colonel Hans Landa, a garrulous, know-it-all Nazi whose verbal preening is barbed and calculated towards entrapment. There is nothing inglorious about him, he is an absolutely glorious bastard – quite simply the best I’ve seen.
Brad Pitt heads up the allied contingent as Lt Aldo Raine, the leader of a band of marauding misfits and Jews who are as infamous to Germans as Landa is to the families he seeks – and Raine’s men have a particular fondness for any German soldier who does not want to surrender. Melanie Laurent plays a cinema owner who conceals her Jewish roots while evading Landa, avoiding the advances of decorated sniper Daniel Bruhl, smuggling in the commandos, and setting a film stock funeral pyre for the Nazi hierarchy at a star-studded film premiere – which is where Hitler and Co come in.
When it comes to ending a film, Tarantino rarely disappoints and Basterds certainly ends with a bang. It’s very silly and over the top, but the scripting, dialogue and composition of the action is all first rate. It’s hard to tire of this one!
Inglorious Basterds Friday 10.00pm Sky Cinema Greats