Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 7
A gang of Jewish-Americans known as “The Basterds” take on the Third Reich in Nazi occupied France.
In order to really appreciate this style of movie, you really have to be a fan of Tarantino’s. And not just the kind of fan who happened to like the crazed pace of Pulp Fiction, no, this is much more in the manner of Four Rooms, which I personally adored. However, Basterds doesn’t have anywhere near the sympathetic agony and fun for an understaffed hotel with an overworked bellboy. Every moment in Basterds seems categorized by this horrible insidious fear that the Nazis are going to commit some atrocity. And while yes, that’s exactly what they often did, the taut way Tarantino wrings tension out of every last scene with the Nazis is life draining to the movie watcher.
Consider the very first scene, where a hail-fellow-well-met Nazi comes and talks to a known Jew sympathizer. The man’s daughters are hauled outside, and we watching don’t know what happens to them, but it could be any number of agonies. Meanwhile, this stereotypical Nazi has a quiet conversation with the sympathizer, the upshot of which is if he doesn’t give up the Jews he’s hiding, his world will essentially end. You can see horror after endless horror being calculated for and against in the mans mind; I sure hope that was Tarantino’s intention.
Most of the rest of the movie is Brad Pitt leading the Basterds off to be, as he says, killin’ Nat-zis. There’s a lot about a movie house, the attractive female lead who owns the movie house, a visitation from the Fuhrer himself, and a plot to blow everyone to kingdom come. And yes it all comes together in a very Four Rooms fashion towards the end of the movie, but there’s hardly any FUN! Pitt’s Fight Club style of shenanigans don’t pair too well with the tension-filled performances delivered by the likes of Melanie Laurent.
Tarantino seems to be making his own niche in the filmmaker industry, and if you’re a fan, you’ll like this one.