I think that it is a mistake to judge a film as what it is not.’Inglorious Basterds’ is not (just) a war film. It is not a historical film. It is not a film about the Holocaust either. It is a film by Quentin Tarantino. A genre by itself.

Tarantino makes entertainment using as starting point different subjects, and develops them his way. One can of course ask whether world war II and the Holocaust can or should be dealt with by films in any genre. I believe that the answer is yes and that this answer was given already many decades ago. The French made I think some of the first comedies about the war (Babette s’en va-t-en guerre with Brigitte Bardot was made in 1960) and later in the past century the Holocaust started to be dealt in various registers, including the comic one, the best example being of course the fabulous La vita e bella by Roberto Begnini.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTUDXLKI3LY

(video by hitfixcom)

I liked this ‘Tarantino goes to war’ exercise although I do not think it is his best film. Relative to the the ‘Kill Bill’ two volumes ‘Inglorious Basterds’ seems a little bit too simple and too direct. Yet it figures a triangle of characters that are all acted wonderfully – Brad Pitt as the commander of the Jewish avengers squad is almost hard to recognize in voice and appearance, Christoph Waltz is one of the best villains seen on screen in recent times, and Melanie Laurent provides an exotic mix of revenge, ingenuity and femme fatale. The other point of attraction is the use o a cinema hall as the set for an alternate end to the world war – here Tarantino is at his best and the result is unforgettable. This is enough stuff to make of ‘Inglorious Basterds’ one of the contenders to the Best Film Oscar race especially now that the number of finalists in the category was raised to nine. It will not get the trophy, but it will give a good fight.

The IMDB entry with more information, reviews, viewer comments can be found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361748/