"You know something, this just might be my masterpiece" said by Lt. Aldo Raine at the end of Basterds sums up the film perfectly. Call it a cocky move by Tarantino to add that last little touch as the final quote in the film, but he's right. This is his masterpiece.
The film starts off classic Tarantino style by taking us into an all at the same time deep, serious, comedic, and frightening conversation between "The Jew Hunter" played by the magnificent Austrian actor Christoph Waltz and "Perrier LaPadite" well played by another great actor Denis Menochet. The Jew Hunter has come to Perriers small house on his farm to look for Jews that may be still hiding out. As they continue there conversation we slowly begin to realize that this Jew Hunter wouldn't be here unless he knew there were Jews hiding out. Soon Perrier realizes this too. In an intense aftermath "Shosanna" the young Jewish girl who was hiding in Perriers floorboards is now in the sights of The Jew Hunters pistol as she dashes across the open farm land. He "lets" her go. Is it because he enjoys the hunt and knows he will come across her again? Absolutely, but the tables may turn.
"And I will have my scalps!" Next we're introduced to the set of the ever most offbeat, original looking group of bad asses I've ever seen in a Tarantino film. The Basterds. Brad Pitt plays Lt. Aldo Raine. A hillbilly Nazi hater who, although it's never talked about, by the nasty scar clear around his neck has survived a lynching or two in his day. With his voice barely intact Pitt leads the Basterds with determination and wont except no for an answer. They're here to do one thing and one thing only, kill Nazis. They are able to do so under Aldos command and with the help of "Sgt. Donny Donowitz" played by the Director Eli Roth, "Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz" played by Til Schweiger, and "Pfc Olmar Ulmer" played by Omar Doom. Stiglitz brings the knife, Donowitz brings the bat, and Ulmer assists in what may be the greatest cinema scenes in cinema. They brutally kill, scalp, and permanently scar the foreheads of Nazis.
"Marcel, burn it down!" Her name is "Shosanna" played by the elegant Melanie Laurent and she's grown into a beautiful young woman. Tarantino takes a bit of a turn here and takes us back to some old school cinema, literally. Shosanna is now the owner of a small cinema in Paris. After meeting a "war hero" and Nazi, "Fredrick Zoeller", who has taken a liking or obsession I should say to Shosanna, he recommends to Hitlers right hand man to have his film based on his heroism starring him, play at Shosannas theater. They invite all the highest ranked Nazis in Paris, including Hitler himself. When Shosanna hears this she hitches up one of the most daring and well played out plans by Tarantino ever to take down the Nazis in one swoop. Burn the mother down. One of the most brilliant scenes of dialogue in the film is when The Jew Hunter himself crosses paths with Shosanna in a restaurant in Paris right after they seal the deal to hold the premiere at her theater. Again the tension is blasting through the screen as he grills her, not knowing who she is, but still giving her the same frightening experience she had with him some years before as she listened to him above those floorboards. After they chat and eat cake with cream on top for about ten minutes, The Jew Hunter finally gets up to go and Shosanna lets out a gasp of air. That was close. If she hesitated at all to burn down the theater before, she is one hundred percent sure she's ready now.
"We're gettin into that premiere". After Aldo and a few of his men cross paths with "Bridget von Hammersmark" a famous actress well acted by the delightful Diane Kruger, they find out Hitler is attending the premiere and they use Hammersmark as a way in. This leads to one of the funniest moments in the film as Aldo Raine and his two men attempts to be her Italian friends. Pitt puts in the effort, Aldo doesn't, you'll see what I mean, it's a laugh out loud moment. Soon just two of Aldos men take down about 300 Nazis including Hitler as they fire away machine guns into a flaming fury of hell.
With that, Quentin Tarantino has done it again in what may be his best film to date. Giving us a great cast of characters with great dialogue, some good cinematography including some note worthy pan (during a three way conversation with Aldo and two others), tracking shots (the shot where Shosanna runs across the farm in the opening sequence is amazing), and a great crane shot (towards the end when we see just how many Nazis really are in the theater....about to burn alive). Another quick mention was the incredible job done by Martin Wuttke who played "Adolf Hitler". This was an amazing performance, and although I wished we could have seen a bit more of him, I am willing to bet that he will get a best supporting nod come Oscar and Globe season. I give it 4 1/2 outa 5.