Under the Radar

Return of the Basterds


Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (and the online video game based on the movie) didn't get such a warm reception from our readers last summer when it was released in theaters. 

Now that it's out on DVD (and Blu-Ray), let's try again.

Tarantino has never let other people's critical taste interfere with his undiscriminating love of movies.This time he's delivered a film that draws equally from high art cinema like Jean Renoir's La Grande Illusion and exploitation trash like Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (link is NSFW, effectively making the point about trash).

What's sure to infuriate (aside from the atrocious spelling) is that, even though Inglourious Basterds takes place during World War II, Tarantino delivers a spectacular ending that has nothing to do with the facts as we know them, the polar opposite of Steven Speilberg's reverential, somber work in Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List.

A centerpiece of Basterds is a theatrical showing of a Nazi propaganda film called Nation's Pride. The DVD includes both a completed version of Nation's Pride (directed by Eli Roth, who plays Sgt. Donny Donowitz in Basterds and also directed Hostel) and an Access Hollywood-style promotional video hyping the film.

Goofy? Absolutely, but so is Brad Pitt's unhinged portrayal of Lt. Aldo Raine, a character that features what might be the worst Italian accent in the history of movies. 

Tarantino has always understood that movies have little or nothing to do with real life. Now he's taken that attitude and made a war movie that defies all the solemn conventions of World War II.

Considering the overwhelmingly shocked response to this week's theft of the Auschwitz sign, lots of folks may not be ready for Tarantino's foul-mouthed revenge fantasy.

If you made it through these two videos without blowing a fuse, you'll want to rent or buy Inglourious Basterds as soon as you can. If you did blow that fuse, the comments section is below.

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