Quentin Tarantino’s much talked about men-on-a-mission WWII movie has been a long time coming, but now his sixth feature (originally inspired by the 1978 film of almost the same name) is here and it’s great. Brad Pitt’s Lieutenant Aldo Raine and his band of Nazi-bushwacking Jewish-American GIs provide the film’s Dirty Dozen element, but their bloody antics are only one of the plot strands of this multiple narrative romp through occupied France. The others comprise two separate plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler, one dreamed up by French Jew fugitive Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent), who runs a cinema in Paris at which Joseph Goebbels plans to premiere his latest piece of cinematic propaganda, and the other an Allied operation run by film critic-turned-commando Lieutenant Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender channelling Graham Greene to priceless effect) in collusion with German actress and double agent Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger).
Tarantino takes his time bringing the narrative strands together, cutting back and forth between them with lengthy, often very wordy scenes. All of the dialogue is spoken in its original language and so much of it is French and German, which isn’t just for authenticity’s sake, but is also integral to how the plots are cleverly played out. There’s also plenty of action, a good deal of black humour and a number of superbly staged set-pieces (particularly the opening homage to Sergio Leone). The most memorable thing about the film, however, is its villain, the urbane ‘Jew hunter’ Colonel Hans Landa. Playing him with palpable glee, Austrian actor Christoph Waltz steals the film
Out now on general release.