Editor’s Note: Russ’s review contains spoilers.

The climax of Inglourious Basterds has the most terrifying image ever to appear in a Quentin Tarantino film. It is a movie vision of hell and an inversion of Holocaust ovens, flames consuming the wicked as a laughing ghostly beauty swirls in smoke. Though some of Basterds feels rushed and slightly below Tarantino’s ‘matter of fact’ visual standards — Kill Bill aside, his films aren’t known for visual splendor — that one vision is almost justification enough for the entire film.

Inglourious Basterds doesn’t even need the justification. It is ambitious, exciting, awkward, wild ride. If Basterds is more frustratingly flawed than most of Tarantino’s films, it also contains uncommonly memorable highs. Through a pair of converging storylines, the film pushes forward the ideas about storytelling, legends and propaganda that have always lurked in Tarantino’s films. And by confronting evil head-on, rather than circling it in an elliptical daze, Inglourious Basterds may be the most soulful movie the director has yet made. Read More »