Inglorious Basterds – 4 stars

In Inglorious Basterds (2009) Lt. Aldo Raine wears the First Special  Service Force's insignia of crossed arrows on his collar and red arrowhead  shoulder patch. This was an elite US-Canadian commando unit

I was teed up to hate this picture, given how juvenile and overpraised Quentin Tarantino’s last offerings were (the Kill Bills, and the truly execrable double feature, drive-in homage).  Those movies were the toasts of critics yet belied all of his worst qualities – excess, self-regard and juvenilia.

But Tarantino returns to his sweet spot here, with crackling dialogue, edgy and beautifully crafted set pieces, and a brisk pacing, comic but not immature. It’s a clever and exciting popcorn film, anchored by the actor who plays the primary Nazi baddie (Christoph Walz) with such relish, you near root for him.

Great fun, and yet, highly intricate and accomplished.  The shootout scene in the French cafe’ basement is one of the most tense and exciting I’ve ever scene on film.  A worthy Best Picture nominee.

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