Tarantino grows up: Inglourious Basterds movie review

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Inglourious Basterds captures 5 Red Vines for being my second choice for Best Movie of 2009

Tarantino Grows Up!

I love Quentin Tarantino’s movies!  Being both writer and director, his movie always have certain signature hallmarks:  quirky characters, a wicked sense of black humor, several story lines that converge and marking those stories like a book with named chapters.  And while “Inglourious Basterds” has all these Tarantino-isms, it also has something else that is fresh: a new found maturity.

Tarantino movies always seem to have a schizophrenic feel.  But this time around the director takes his time setting up scenes and letting the actors simply tell the story through dialog rather than action.  Not to say that his action and violence fans will feel neglected, they won’t, but that is not the be all and end all this time around.

The movie centers on a fictional band of Jewish soldiers who have taken the holocaust to heart and have made it a personal vendetta to kill as many Nazi’s as possible, with the goal of ultimately getting Der Furor.  Taking a page from Vlad the Impaler, they not only kill all Nazi’s who cross their path but brutally maim and scalp-yes-scalp them to leave a wake of disgusting destruction in their path.  They are engaged in psychological warfare and it works.  Fear of the dreaded ‘Basterds’ spreads among the Third Reich to the point that the group reaches mythical status.

Leading the group is Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine.  Pitt is funny, doing somewhat of a parody of Clark Gable’s on screen persona: brash, glib, fearless and dashing.  But stealing the show is his character’s arch nemesis-no not Hitler but his most feared henchman, Col. Hans Landa played to the goose stepping hilt by Christopher Waltz.  In his hands, all Nazi stereotypes fall to the wayside as this villain is as cold-blooded as he is educated and smooth.  Creepy and smooth!

The other star of this movie is the rich cinematography.  Every frame is a still life, beautifully composed, saturated in color.  And I just couldn’t help but marvel at Tarantino’s composure to sit on two actors talking for such a long amount of time just to tell their story.  It is refreshing, riveting and a welcome sign of real growth from a directing genius.