While I don’t really like the question, I always state that “Pulp Fiction” is my favorite movie when asked. I’m one of those people who was influenced by it around the age of twelve. Tarantino will forever be an interesting director, making A-list homages of B-movies that often trump the classier pictures released alongside them.
“Basterds” is no different; and as a tongue-in-cheek story of intrigue and an unabashed kill-the-Nazis epic, it works. It functions both as a slow-burn thriller and a graphic shoot-em-up, with just about every scene building tension until climaxing in an explosion of blood and gore. The classic Hitchcock definition of suspense (a routine conversation going on while we, the audience, knows that there is a bomb under the table) is utilized several times throughout the film; my favorite scene being a twenty-plus-minute-long tavern scene that works in as many period pop-culture references as possible while instilling a feeling of dread and anxiety.
Mélanie Laurent and Brad Pitt are fun to watch as the almost-insane heroes, and Christoph Waltz is the icing on the cake, deftly chewing the scenery as the ultimate villain you love to hate. This film made me a fan of Michael Fassbender, who I did not recognize at all from “Hunger”. Here, he channels David Niven as the more-British-than-British soldier (“If you offer me a scotch and plain water, I could drink a scotch and plain water”) and has a lot of fun with it. Mike Myers and Rod Taylor may be the most unlikely screen combination featured in a recent movie. Oh and hey, David Bowie pops up during a montage. Yes, while the film must be commended for its attention to historical accuracy and language detail, I loved its willingness to break anachronistic rules. It’s a movie and it Tarantino knows it.
Damn good stuff.