Inglourious Basterds

Once upon a time... This is a fairy tale that posits "wouldn't it be cool if...?"

Writer/Director Quentin Tarantino ("Kill Bill" and "Pulp Fiction") is a loose cannon. His movies aren't predictable: at times they are breath- takingly audacious and at other times they are stomach churningly horrifying. One thing is consistent: they are always loaded with explosive violence. His production values are top notch and his cast is exceptional (well...maybe I've seen a better Hitler).

The cast:
  • French actress Mélanie Laurent plays a teenage French/Jewish proprietor of a Parisian movie house;
  • Austrian actor Christoph Waltz (with excellent English) is a disarmingly clever Gestapo colonel;
  • American actor Brad Pitt is the good-ol'-boy leader of a squad of Jewish soldiers bent on striking terror into Nazi hearts (they scalp their victims);
  • German actress Diane Kruger ("Troy") plays a German actress.

Spoiler Alert!!! In this little fairy tale, Tarantino has cobbled together a plot that kills Hitler in Paris. Is that spoiler enough for you? To me, the interesting thing is watching how cleverly he sucks us in: he offers humor (Brad Pitt's cornpone accent and down-home syntax is always good for a laugh); generates tension (is that Nazi officer onto the double agent?); creates a new movie star (you WILL hear from Christoph Waltz again!); and fills a movie theater (this will probably be the biggest earning opening for the month).

Other than the unnecessarily long running time (he needs someone with the courage to tell him to trim about half an hour), this is a masterful work by a man who loves movies and loves making them.