Director: Quentin Tarantino
Pure wish-fulfilment fantasy by Quentin Tarantino (Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France…), in which Hitler and his stooges stand to get what’s coming to them, in a way that makes cinema itself seem like the grand liberator.
Grammatically challenged, factually unhinged and too long for its own good, this World War II thriller nevertheless soars thanks to one glorious performance — and it’s not the one you think.
Top-billed Brad Pitt is merely amusing as Tennessee moonshiner Lt. Aldo The Apache Raine, who leads scalp-hunting Jewish-American soldiers against Hitler in Nazi-occupied France. But he’s almost a Sgt. Rock parody and he’s MIA for vast stretches.
The film’s real star is Austria’s Christoph Waltz, a multilingual wizard who inhabits the role of Col. Hans Landa, the smirking Gestapo officer known as “The Jew Hunter” for his uncanny sleuthing.
Heads are sliced and skulls are smashed — the latter being the specialty of Eli Roth’s character, wild-eyed baseball nut Sgt. Donny Donowitz. But the film is less violent than the bloodthirsty ads suggest, and also less so than Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga.
These Basterds blend into a much richer story, a revisionist romp with stars you don’t immediately see shining.
Extras include a roundtable discussion with Tarantino, Pitt and film writer Elvis Mitchell and several featurettes, including Making of Nation’s Pride and The Original Inglorious Bastards.