Quentin Tarantino’s film from 2009 is set in Nazi-occupied France and starts with a long shot of an idyllic looking country farmhouse as a man cuts wood with an axe and a woman hangs washing on the line. An SD Colnel Hans Landa (Christopher Waltz) and his assistants approach up the drive to interrogate the farmer Perrier LaPadite (Denis Menochet) about rumours of his harbouring a Jewish family. It is an absolutely fantastic scene full of nice touches, extremely polite tension and surprising restraint. Both actors play the scene perfectly.
Next up we are introduced to the other side of the story and Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine character. To me this scene is slightly awkward sitting and an inevitable slight let down after the fantastic opening. When Christopher Waltz returns to the screen the interest picks up again – he really is the best thing about this film and makes compelling viewing.
Another top-drawer scene takes place in a small underground bar where British Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) and German actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) are trying to conduct a meeting without rousing local suspicions. Another example of incredible tension and subtleties this is more compelling viewing. The film slowly builds to a huge set piece for a pre-finale and we are left with two of the characters battling for control.
There are moments of great humour too, a great cameo from Mike Myers and some almost expected great tracking shots and visual touches from Quentin. So, it’s a film with a few moments of brilliance and a fantastic central performance by Christopher Waltz. Perhaps a little baggy in parts and with a few internal inconsistencies and it may look a little ridiculous in retrospect but who cares when it’s for the most part a really enjoyable ride.
4 on 5
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Christopher Waltz, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Melanie Laurent, Diane Kruger
UK Release: 19th August 2009