Inglourious Basterds

Big ol’ SPOILER ALERT here, kids. Click away if you want to keep some sense of mystery about Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”

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There’s a scene late in the film that more or less sunk it for me. Col. Hans Landa (Chrisoph Walz), who has been rewarded for his exquisite work as the Schutzstaffel’s “Jew Hunter” (which is rather like being a fire department’s “hose operator” or “door kick down-er,” but let’s get through this), with a plum job working security for the premiere of Joseph Goebbels’ latest and greatest production, has baited actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) into a room set off from the rest of the theater. Unbeknownst to her, he knows that she has betrayed her country and brought three American agents into the theatre with the intent of blowing it up and killing everyone inside, including Adolf Hitler. He tells her to put her foot on his lap, because Tarantino has a nuclear-strength foot fetish he has proof of her betrayal–a shoe she left at the scene of a botched spy rendezvous.

Hammersmark knows she’s doomed. She asks Landa what he wants. Landa leaps across the room and chokes her to death. Less than an hour of plot later, he tells two captured members of the Inglourious Basterds that Hammersmark “got what she deserved.” And minutes after that, he has cut a deal with the Basterds to let their bomb plot go forward, as long as he gets a sweet deal back in the States.

Question: What the fuck just happened? Why is Landa so mad at Hammersmark that he’ll murder her in cold blood if he’s ready to sell out his country anyway