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This review is from: Inglourious Basterds (Single-Disc Edition) (DVD)
Released in 2009 and directed by Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds" was my first taste of the popular director's eccentric repertoire, although I've since seen 1994's "Pulp Fiction," which I liked.
The first time I tried to watch "Basterds" I gave up around the 50-minute mark. Don't get me wrong, the long opening sequence was great but the film bogged down with its focus on a French theater during the German occupation of WWII and the accompanying interminable dialogue (in subtitles). I just wasn't ready for this. I was expecting a Dirty Dozen-styled WWII film with lots of action and all that goes with it. What I got instead was a plot that focused on the aforementioned theater accompanied by long sessions of mostly subtitled dialogue.
Well, I finally decided to give it a second chance with the understanding that this wasn't some typical war flick. Strangely, the "interminable dialogue (with subtitles)" pulled me in and I slowly became engrossed in the story, which isn't hard to follow. I discovered that the drama is only occasionally interrupted by flashes of extreme violence. Until the end, that is, where all hell literally breaks loose.
There ARE elements that bring to mind 1967's "The Dirty Dozen," including a group of anti-heroes intent on mercilessly obliterating as many Germans as possible and the fact that the real action doesn't kick-in until the final act, but "Basterds" is hardly a Dirty Dozen clone. It may borrow a bit from notable films of the past but it absolutely possesses its own refreshing originality.
All effective films have quality characters and "Basterds" has several: The stunning Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna, the cinema proprietor, who drips with vengeance against the Nazis; Christoph Waltz as SS Col. Landa, an articulate and suave love-to-hate villain who mercilessly hunts down Jews; Brad Pitt as the almost-comical, but no-nonsense leader of the Basterds; super-sharp Diane Kruger as a German actress & British spy; and Daniel Brühl as a German hero with the hots for the beautiful Shosanna.
"Basterds" pulsates with confidence, style, quirkiness and a sense of the unexpected from beginning to end, the perfect antidote to the "blockbuster" syndrome that plagues modern cinema with it's predictability and overKILL action & CGI, etc.
The film runs 153 minutes and was shot in France and Germany.