In the trailer for Inglourious Basterds, we see a scene where a petrified German soldier is about to have his head bashed in by a wooden baseball bat at the hands of one of the “Basterds”. This, my friends, is a perfect metaphor for what the movie itself is like. If you know Tarantino movies at all, you know that all of his films exhibit certain qualities that could be called signature Tarantino. And in this movie, he takes his bag of tricks and fuckin bashes them into your head.
Fortunately, QT is one of the most original, badass and captivating filmmakers to ever live, and the film itself proves to share these qualities with its mad-scientist director. The movie plays out like several different stories, that in the end all combine into one (sound familiar Pulp Fiction fans?), and of course they all revolve around World War 2. But never have I seen a “World War 2” film with less cliché scenes. This movie actually has no battle scenes, no explosions, no tanks, no bazookas. Just Hitler, Brad Pitt, a Nazi movie premier gone wrong, and a whole lot of whacky dialogue. That’s all I’ll say in terms of what actually happens, its your goddam job to watch the movie.
I will say this though, it’s good to see that Tarantino is still willing to use film as an experiment, not simply a money grab. In a recent GQ article Quentin noted that “right now is my time to make movies. I don’t want a kid, I don’t want a wife etc. Because that would take away from me making movies. It’s not a job. Not at all is this a job. It’s a passion. When this becomes a job, I’ll stop.”
Is Basterds a masterpiece like the last line of the film suggests (you’ll see what I’m talking about)? No. Is it as good as Pulp Fiction? No. Is it an interesting and profound movie about people, our weird obsessions, violence, war, and way better than 99% of other movies playing in your multiplex right now? You bet your ass it is. Go see it dorks.