"Tarantino's 4th female revenge movie in a row (if you count the two Bills as one movie) and his finest work since Pulp Fiction. Its far from the Dirty Dozen style ‘mission movie’ he promised. As appetising as that may have sounded, what Tarantino has given us is far more interesting, or deliberately perverse depending on your point of view: an action movie with scant action, an American movie where most of the dialogue is not in English, an historical movie which wilfully ignores historical fact, a film where the eponymous Basterds are subsidiary to the plot. Inglourious Basterds is a ferociously personal cinematic vision which more than any film in the director’s oeuvre, nimbly treads that hitherto undetected fine line between Hollywood movie classicism, bold art house aesthetic and bloody grind house.
Like Pulp Fiction all those years ago, the beauty lies in the structure. As with most of Tarantino’s movies the plot moves through long stately scenes, much like Kubrick or his more obvious model, Leone. In this movie there really are many fewer scenes than any standard Hollywood film. In fact two of the scenes (the two best scenes) add up to about a third of the film’s entire running time. In Pulp Fiction these long scenes were about giving the dialogue and characters room to breathe. Here they are assembled carefully like very large building blocks, cumulatively adding weight to the story, building momentum and forwarding plot, piece by well placed piece.
The most triumphant scene in the movie is the one that takes place in a German beer cellar somewhere past the halfway mark. It’s very long and features a cast of a size which would normally populate a modest film. It on the whole moves the larger plot along. It also contains a small plot of it’s own (can Michael Fessbender’s stiff upper lip Lt Archie Hickox, undercover as a Nazi officer, fool an SS officer?). It features a subplot about a young German soldier drunkenly celebrating the birth of his first son. If that’s not enough we also have an investigation in to identity and language, a clever critique of the meaning of King Kong, and to top it all a Mexican standoff. It may be the best scene Tarantino has have crafted."