Inglorious Basterds

Review by Ty McLemore

Quentin Tarantino (also wrote the screenplay)

Lead Actors
Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Eli Roth

Lawrence Bender

Plot synopsis

A Jewish woman, Shoshanna, (Melanie Laurent) seeks revenge on the Nazi colonel who years earlier murdered her family in a French farmhouse during World War II. Her plan involves hosting an elaborate party for high-ranking German officials at a theater she owns, with the intent of leveling the building with high-yield explosives.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) leads a group of Jewish-American soldiers called “The Basterds” into Nazi-held France to hunt and kill Germans. The Basterds also learn of the party and Hitler’s presence there and marshal their resources to kill or capture him and end the war early.

Shoshanna and The Basterds’ paths converge with incredible, unbelievable consequences.

Who Would Like It

Anyone fond of Tarantino’s work or World War II aficionados.  Here he takes on the complexity, brutality and seriousness of World War II and masterfully blends in comedy, quirkiness, suspense and wit.  Tarantino is now in the heavyweight class of directors.

Who Might Not Like It

Non-Tarantino fans or those sensitive to war movies or graphic violence.


Most notable is the opening scene where Colonel Hans (Christoph Waltz) and farmer Perrier engage in a cordial, yet tense 30-minute discussion on Shoshanna’s family’s whereabouts - which is necessary in understanding the majority of the movie.  This was an audacious move, given that movie audiences today need constant visual and auditory stimulation onscreen every 10 seconds.

Another involves several allied soldiers impersonating SS Officers in a tavern.  Their cover is blown when one of the men uses an inappropriate hand gesture to order more beer for their table, which includes real SS Officers. A brief standoff is punctuated by extensive gunfire which kills nearly everyone inside. The violence in this movie appears quickly and unexpectedly, then abates just the same as if not to overshadow other elements in this nearly 3 hour flick.