aka Inglorious Basterds, is Quentin Tarantino’s latest outing. It’s a rumbustuous but finely engineered send-up, not of World War Two, but World War Two movies with their ludicrous pig-dogs, dirty dozens, and Gestapo dentists. Everybody in the film parodies his or her character all the time, pretty superbly. Young Brad Pitt maintains an Alamo toughguy chipmunk sneer throughout — a considerable achievement.
The film includes historical personages, but, history, Ranke’s “wie es eigentlich gewesen” (“What actually happened”) is merely the sandbox in which Tarantino plays. His chosen idiom is crude Spaghetti Western, with a ton of wry filmic homage thrown in, and playfulness with the film plane as well as the actors.
The rabbit that works the controls in Tarantino’s brain is one sick bunny, but functioning at the height of his game.
By way of health warning, If you find Tarantino unwatchable, this will not disappoint you — ditto if you find his films unmissable. Should you have ever have been tempted to write to the BBC complaining that last night's Sergeant Musgrave of the Buffs was portrayed with eight buttons on his tunic whereas any fool knows the Buffs wore nine buttons on their tunics during the peninsilar war, every second of this movie will really annoy you — Not one for military history buffs, then.
The violence is nasty and brutish, but mercifully short for Tarantino, whose Spaghetti Western spends more time building up tension than shooting it out. After years of believing the Americans won the war single handed, it turns out to have been the Jews. There’s a lot of play on languages — subtitles used or not to draw you into lead characters’ awareness of what‘s going on. If you speak French, German and Italian, you will really be in the know, but even if not there are plenty of subtitles. Anyway, a pistol shot in the cujones is pretty much the same in any language.
Sorry to mention the war, but what might Germans think of this movie? Could breaking the mould of WW2 movies be rather refreshing, in fact? Everyone in this movie is equally nasty and amoral, and I imagine many Germans will be up there cheering along the final reel’s magnificently silly carnivalistic Götterdämmerung, along with everyone else still left in the Cinema. Characteristically for Tarantino, Five out of five Stars — or Zero. Additional proof that there’s no such thing as typical Tarantino...