You know, it's a Quentin Tarantino movie, when the feet of a character plays an important role in the movie climax. In a likely reference to the Cinderella story, the shoe fitting the girl is used to identify a person. You know, it's a Tarantino movie otherwise, too. It's stamped all over. With another recent movie, Bryan Singer's Valkyrie, roughly covering the same topic you wonder, what new twist could be there to the same story of yet another attempt to kill Hitler. But, then...you can't be more surprised with how Tarantino treats the subject. Probably made with utmost care and with years of preparation, Inglourious Basterds will be always considered as one of his best works ever.
The movie starts with "Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France" and the Director, as if trying to (re)write history follows the scenes with neatly titled chapters. However, the story could seem utterly blasphemous to historians on both sides of the war, it's referring to.
I read in a Tarantino interview, that Shosanna's character (beautifully portrayed by Melanie Laurent) is one, which is very precious and close to his heart and as the movie progresses, you realize what he meant. As the Jewish girl, who escapes the massacre of her family by an eccentric Nazi Colonel Hans Landa, she assumes a new identity and emerges as the owner of a small theater, which is at the core of the story and incidents which define the movie. In the last scene, when he comes out
Christopher Walts gives one of his best performances as the partly funny, as well as calculative Nazi Colonel who doesn't fit the usual portrayal of Nazis on screen. He is given the nickname of Jew Hunter because of his success as well as understanding of Jew psyche. He explains, how he thinks like a Jew, when he is looking for them, rather than think like Germans. Also, some of the content may be bit offensive for sensitive audience, like when he draws reference to Jews with rats. And, Tarantino gets away with it.
Brad Pitt gives a measured performance as the Lt. Aldo Raine leading the pack of Basterds, who are out there to get Nazi scalps. He sets the tone early by telling his team, that "We will be cruel to the Germans...and through our cruelty, they will know who we are." Raine moves from cruelty to humour fast between scenes and some crafty dialogues. Eli Roth as the baseball bat brandishing Basterds team member is another interesting character. The Basterds create such a name for themselves, that even Hitler is influenced by their notoriety. Hitler is shown in contrast to his known image of a tyrant and someone who is desperately trying to shore up the morale of his followers through a propaganda machinery.
Diane Kruger is good, playing the secret double agent, German actress Bridget von Hammersmart, assigned to help the cause of Basterds in planting a bomb, while Shosanna is making her own plans of taking revenge. In an important bar scene, a game similar to 20 questions, is a crucial element of the plot. Many times, you are on the edge of your seat unsure of the outcome of small duels which keep happening. The interesting premise of two groups of people working towards the same goal in completely unrelated manner, unaware of each other's plans and the audience has no way to guess, who is going to succeed, if at all. Also, repeating some dialogues, Tarantino creates a confusion whether Hitler is present in the scene of action or not.
That you are watching a movie made by Tarantino, who has such a cult following in India was obvious from the applause, that followed his name on the screen and at the end, which was as abrupt, as the last chapter of any history book and you'll feel like coming back for more. A must watch for all movie lovers!