Inglourious Basterds

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Year Released: 2009
Rating: 3.5

QT reinvents WWII as a kind-of Spaghetti Western, has Hitler and Goebbels get mowed down by an elite group of Jewish soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine (a very amusing Brad Pitt) and still believes that the cinema can be an effective weapon against tyranny (R. W. Fassbinder, one of the many filmmakers that inspired this, once said that he didn't make movies, he threw bombs). Of course, coming from the scattered, indulgent brain of our most distinctive living auteur means that this is, at various turns, utterly ridiculous, completely uneven and given to long, long, long (but memorable and tense) scenes of dialogue (punctuated by savage violence): I'd argue that Tarantino's now wavering between a love of theater and a love of B-movie exploitation, dragging unsuspecting audiences into the Cineplex expecting non-stop action and then doing an about face, showing off his true fetish (not the one involving feet) for language itself. It has to be a tongue-in-cheek joke that the movie-within-a-movie "Nation's Pride" (directed by Eli Roth) is nothing but gun violence and a mounting body count - the "audience" (including Hitler) get a real kick out of the endless shooting. It's a distinctive, potent mess - one that knows more about movies than real-life, but QT has never been the man to turn to to look inside our souls. And his talent for bringing out dynamite performances is once again evident with the Machiavellian Hans Landa character - Christoph Waltz, unknown to U.S. audiences, helps carry the movie.