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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Tarantino’s ‘Basterds’ scalps box office numbers

    If you’ve managed to find yourself in front of a TV over the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Lt. Aldo Raine is in the “killin’ gnat-zy business” and indeed “business is a-boomin’.” With “Inglourious Basterds,” famed director Quentin Tarantino sets his iconic vision on Nazi-occupied France, where a group of Jewish-Americans led by Raine set out to strike fear in the hearts of German soldiers. Their tactics are gruesome, leading them to a ghoulish level of renown among the Germans.
    True to his style, Tarantino’s characters are mesmerizing. Brad Pitt as the gruff Tennessee bootlegger lends an air of true die-hard American warrior to the film, and while his “Basterds” might get top billing, he is the ring leader. Apache blood runs through him, and he shows it in his leadership.
    Though Pitt’s name is all over the advertising for this movie, the real star is Mélanie Laurent. Her Shoshanna is a Jew with an axe to grind, living in Paris under false pretenses, and being harassed by Nazis on many different fronts. While Shoshanna takes all the bad, SS Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) seems to have everything in its right place. A brilliant detective and all-around eccentric personality, I found him to be the most entertaining of all the characters, and that’s saying something given the constantly intriguing nature of Tarantino’s figures.
    Again, Tarantino’s mark is all over the film. Like his other films, the dialogue is top-notch, and the cinematography is captivating. We are given the standard Tarantino motifs: sweeping crane shots, entertainingly explicit detail, feet and a humor so basic and true that he must only hint at it in some respects.
    That’s not to say that the film is predictably Tarantino. I think this is first film that can be seen as being both simultaneously full and able to carry its own weight. There’s no space for dialogue about French-McDonald-menu customs or painstakingly choreographed sword battles in well thought out color arrangements; here, just real-talk and an almost boring mixture of earth-tones that hint at a gray background, which only add to the WWII-era aesthetic. The film moves fairly rapidly, and even though it clocks in at just over two and a half hours, it felt somewhat short.
    The action is frantic, exploding in violent bursts that leave you confused and startled. And though the trailers paint the picture of a body-bag festival, the action is rationed out sparsely. Of course, when it happens, nothing is left to the imagination (you actually see someone’s face getting riddled with Thompson bullets in one especially gruesome encounter). All of these things go into what I believe is Tarantino’s best film yet. There’s no filler here, and it makes the film feel more like a history lesson than a work of art.
    I thought carefully before giving this all four stars, but it really is impeccably entertaining. There are only two things that might sway potential patrons. One, of course, is the violence; another is historical accuracy.
    I’m sure someone somewhere will say, “Well, that’s not how it happened.” But these things are irrelevant when considering the overall thrill of the movie.
    “Inglourious Basterds” is funny, exciting, and smart. I could say the same for Tarantino’s other films, but he really seems to be on his game here, making this film that much more impressive.

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    Tarantino’s ‘Basterds’ scalps box office numbers