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Inglourious Basterds: the Palermo review 

Troubled and brilliant Quentin Taratino's rises above the sum of its parts

Every Quentin Tarantino movie is an event. The best moments of Inglourious Basterds translate his love of cinema into thrilling pulp. The weakest get off on comedic slaughter. With clashing tones, the pieces never quite fit. The historic context of renegade Nazi hunters is problematic action movie fodder. Moral inquiry may, as he’s stated in interviews, bore Tarantino. But it’s exactly what raises the stakes in a suspense film. French-Jewish theatre owner Shosanna (Melanie Laurent) is forced to host a screening for Nazis, one of whom killed her family. In deciding to burn down the theatre, it’s a brilliant, lurid narrative thread. As Shosanna’s face is projected on screen, alerting patrons they’re about to die, it’s self-reflexive cinema---Tarantino at his most De Palma. But would it have killed Tarantino to give the participating projectionist just one line of hesitancy over the mass killing? A terrific, evil performance by Christoph Waltz as an SS Colonel provides gravity for Tarantino’s sometimes rambling dialogue scenes. And a montage anachronistically set to David Bowie’s “Cat People” shows the director’s evocative approach to the medium in beautiful effect. Inglourious Basterds is as flawed as anything Tarantino’s made. But it rises above its more troubled elements: It’s great in parts.

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