Sam Meltzer🏳️🌈’s review published on Letterboxd:
Christoph Waltz deserved the Oscar because he had to drink straight milk, I mean that’s talent!
I used to find this film overrated. One that was in my face all the time and I found myself constantly annoyed with the praise it got. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t exactly love it. I decided that I felt like rewatching it because I felt it deserved a second chance, and oh my fucking goodness it did.
It starts off quietly, building tension in such a vivid and careful way, showcasing those who are merely trying to survive in a small area in France and are forced to encounter the difficult situation of Nazi officers. Here we are introduced to the character of Hans Landa, one of the greatest cinematic villains ever. At first, he appears to be calm but you know that there is a lot of evil hiding underneath. The distinct feel of his voice and look on his face is menacingly dark, yet also weirdly pleasant and funny. He can cover up his villainous personality with a strange sense of charm and humor. His whole character is a mind-trick filled with brilliance. The conversation taking place here is subtle yet so tense creating an atmosphere so severe and vigorous. You know that shit’s about to hit the fan but when and how? This opening scene of only around 20 minutes is able to build some of the best suspense and amazing dramatic effect in any film I’ve seen.
Throughout the rest of the film we see many interactions and whether they are between people of opposing sides or not, it manages to always interest you. It is able to show us a very fascinating dynamic of the historical period while also just being fucking awesome because, well, it’s Tarantino. The amount of build-up and jaw-dropping moments is simply incredible. For example, the escalation towards the grand finale. Most of the film is an exceptional look at the time period and the trickery within it, all leading up to an intense and gripping ending that proves to be one of the all-time greats. The many scenes at restaurants of just “people talking” could have easily ended up being boring and uninteresting, however it’s the opposite. The conversation is amazing containing dialogue with minute details and superb character depth proving that film refuses to waste a second of its 153-minute runtime. Seriously, I could watch Christoph Waltz eat that DELICIOUS looking dessert all day.
I also really like how Tarantino is able to take a subject as history, something that is commonly viewed as either boring or too dark, and turn it into an epic and crazy experience. Inglourious Basterds is a phenomenal showcase of twisting time. World War II, a topic that I, and many others, hear about constantly. A certainly unstable time in our world history. Tarantino understands that the topic is serious and can become sensitive to many, but makes the film so accessible yet simultaneously layered and deep. You can view this in many ways. It’s easy to see it as a fun and entertaining blast but it is also easy to see its commentary on how ridiculous the idea of war and The Holocaust was. He is able to take a heavy and grave subject and make it awesome. Watching this was incredibly amusing and exciting, I cannot wait to revisit it many times in the future. So yeah, that’s DEFINITELY a bingo.