August 21st, 2009

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Inglourious Basterds" is as sloppy as the title spelling

*Inglourious Basterds** is being hailed as the last "Nazi" movie. This might be a true assertion. Unlike the war movies that starred legitimate soldiers like Jimmy Stewart and Charles During, the majority of the actors in **Inglourious Basterds** have never experienced warfare.

There is a fakery about **Inglourious Basterds** that does not do justice to the World War II experience. At least actors Werner Klemperer and John Banner (who portrayed Colonel Klink and Sargent Schultz from the television show **Hogan's Heroes,** respectively), were German Jews who fled Germany when Adolph Hitler seized power. The fact that Klemperer and Banner retained a sense of humor after personal tragedy is a screenplay waiting to be written.

**Inglourious Basterds** is more about auteur Quentin Tarantino than about history. The title is deliberately spelled wrong and under the guise of artistic license, Tarantino refuses to say why. The Inglourious Basterds are a special unit of Jewish/American soldiers who are assigned to cause mischief in Nazi occupied France. Lead by Aldo the Apache (Brad Pitt), the team of eight terrorize the Nazis by scalping them. Beyond shooting, killing, scalping and spying, the Inglourious Basterds have very little character development.

The most developed character of the ensemble is film's primary villain, Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz), the smartest and most charming man in the room in every scene. Like a spider, Colonel Hans Landa lures his victims into his web and drains them of resistence. Waltz is likely to be put into consideration for a best supporting Oscar nomination when **Inglourious Basterds** goes into DVD release.
The story is told in five rambling chapters. A long character introduction may be developed in Chapter Three, only to have the character die quickly in a crescendo of violence in Chapter Four. The Fifth Chapter builds to a fiery climax that lacks the tension of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. In fact, the finale becomes as cartoonish as a 1940s propaganda movie.

The movie opens with the theme music from John Wayne's **The Alamo** and there are cinematic references to Lee Marvin's **The Dirty Dozen** and Clint Eastwood's **Kelly's Heroes.** There is also a perverse reference to the classic fairy tale **Cinderella.** **Inglourious Basterds,** lacks the special moments that previous Tarantino flicks had, like the climatic car chase in **Grindhouse presents Deathproof.** or the ninja showdown in **Kill Bill Volume 1.** The Tarantino trademark of long and drawn out conversations is made even more tedious by being in foreign languages with English subtitles.

Save your money on **Inglourious Basterds,** the flick is likely to be playing repeatedly on television in eight or nine months. At that point one can appreciate the cinematic Easter Eggs and details that Tarantino plants into his films. These moments has more to do with the world of Quentin Tarantino than it does with story telling and character development. **Inglourious Basterds** is not a satisfying experience as a whole.