Many of filmmakers are smart “ in fact, most of them are. Even Uwe Boll got through medical school. But being smart doesn’t mean that they make smart movies. Summer 2009 has been loaded with entertaining eye candy that was dumber than a Redman spit cup.
Just when I’d given up all hope for a smart summer movie, along came that glourious basterd Quentin Tarantino (“Grindhouse”) with his latest metafilm, a picture that’s got it all: drama, comedy, suspense, satire, a clever script, great acting. Actually, “Inglourious Basterds” is an entire summer season all by itself.
Tarantino takes the stuff of spaghetti Westerns and turns it into an alternate history of World War II. Like the movie’s title, the action of the film seems to be correct, but you know there’s something wrong with it.
The picture details the adventures of three central characters: the good, the bad, and the gorgeous. We meet the bad first, Col. Hans Landa (German actor Christoph Waltz), nicknamed “The Jew Hunter” for his prowess in tracking and eliminating Jews from Nazi-occupied France. He’s a psychological sadist, a cat-and-mouse kind of torturer “ he’s the cat “ who comes on like a decent guy, all reasonable affability, until before you know it, he’s reduced you to a quivering plate of escargot.
The good is, like Blondie in the Sergio Leone picture Tarantino uses as his template, a man you probably wouldn’t consider a pillar of morality under ordinary circumstances. This is Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Gentile leader of a small American force of Jewish commandoes whose mission it is to terrorize German soldiers. Like Landa, he’s a chatty guy, all crap-eating grins and down-home friendliness “ unless you’re wearing the wrong uniform. Then he’ll either have his “basterds” scalp you or, if he decides to let you go, he’ll carve a swastika into your forehead.
The gorgeous is Shosanna Dreyfus (French actress M