To watch Quentin Tarantino live on stage is to sneak a peek into the inner workings of the man and his movies.
From start to finish, he leaps - mentally and physically - crisscrossing subjects and stage, as he exclaims, explains, expounds, exudes, exults, extorts, extols, explodes and excites.
Always a man whose body is trying to catch up to the tempo of his mind.
That, in a nutshell, is a perfect précis for Tarantino's take on World War II, Inglourious Basterds, a saga probing some brutal excesses of the era.
In this hair raising tale, Tarantino, in five chapters, braids separate story lines into a weave of vengeance, violence, gore and glamour. The plot plaits three strands, all with the same goal: to annihilate Nazis and exterminate Hitler. Revisionist history told according to Tarantino.
The first tress traces a young fugitive's (Melanie Laurent) quest to revenge the murder of her family. The second records brutal retribution delivered by (Brad Pitt) a bloody Robin Hood, and his Jewish band of merry hatchet men. The last features a finale for the Furor as plotted by a seductive moll mole, (Diane Kruger).
For two and a half hours Tarantino weaves his fabricated fable with a fantastic cast of multi-national multilingual multi-talented actors.
Brad Pitt as Lieutenant Aldo Raine is Tarantino personified. (He originally wrote the role for himself.) Pitt delivers his mean team pep rally just as Tarantino would fan a frenzy for blood-splattered cinema. Tarantino knows how to infect a crowd for his cause. Off camera and on. And Pitt parodied him impeccably.
I must confess that I am a committed Brad Pitt groupie. No, not because of his irresistible combo of looks and heart: a caring conscience embellished with bottomless blue eyes, cute nose and macho chest. But because like other consummate actors, he can instantaneously convert uncontainable laughter into maniacal madness (re: The Assassination of Jesse James). Lucky for us he is so much more than a double dipper.
And do look for a well camouflaged Mike Meyers.
But for movie fanatics who love a great performance, it is Christoph Waltz as Nazi Colonel Hans Landa who dances off with the prizes. As winner of the best actor award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and Golden Globe nominee, he is the twine that ties the story, the hand that coils the braid and the clasp that closes the knot. From his first appearance as a suave cool killer, to his last as a calculating survivor, Tarantino's twisted tale rests on the epaulets of Colonel Landa. And so will lots of your viewing pleasure.
In Inglourious Basterds Tarantino plays intellectual mind games with mindless B movies. He combines Martin Scorcese's infinite knowledge of A list films, with his own affinity for B list flics. A know-it-all B buff. Literally.
So why not climax Inglourious Basterds in the very place that begets Tarantino's orgasmic energy? A movie theater. The threaded storylines converge in a convolution of things gone bad for good. It ends with poetic justice carved in a scarlet letter. See for yourself.
(Editor's note: The Two-disc Special Edition Blu-ray package includes a digital copy of the movie that can be downloaded onto your computer.)
Hi-Def & Additional Features
I'm a nut for outtakes. They are few, yet informative.
The black and white Nazi propaganda war movie that lures Hitler to the theater is shown in its entirety. Executed to mesh with Quentin's jolly genre, Eli Roth, (one of the Basterds), directed Nations Pride as a bleeding ballet of airborne bodies.
Scenes from the 1987 Enzo G. Castellari's Inglorious Bastards are included. The geneology is in the namesake, not the story. In an affectionate salute to the director, Castellari makes a cameo appearance as a General in the 2009 incarnation.
The interview with Tarantino and Brad Pitt by critic Elvis Mitchell is engaging, intriguing and interesting, but for the quintessence of Quentin, the Rod Taylor's talking head is the Extra of choice.
Taylor, who plays Winston Churchill, penetrates the mystique of Tarantino. He divines and defines actors' adulation for "the magnificent genius kid."
The Taylor testimonial is accompanied by clips of Tarantino behind the camera, revealing wherefores of why actors coo to work with this "crazy." Taylor will convert queasy Quentin skeptics to instant esteem.
To experience more of this unadulterated Tarantino bliss, be sure to watch "Hi, Sally" and "Quentin Tarantino's Camera Angel."
And to enhance your heady Inglourious Basterds experience, heed critic Mitchell who said "there is no random detail in the movie."
Studio: Universal Studios
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Melanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, Daniel Bruhl
Length: 153 minutes
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1