First Reviews Of Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds' Shown At Cannes: “Gott-Awful”, “Grisly-Comic”, “Camp-Operatic”, “Subverts Expectation”

There was an audience screening at noon Cannes Time. Great reaction from the general audience with a huge ovation. But the reviews range from good, to mixed, to really rotten. The real question is how Inglourious Basterds will do at the box office when it opens in August and how it will affect Quentin Tarantino’s future and The Weinstein Co’s fortunes.

Peter Bradshow, The Guardian

Quentin Tarantino’s wartime spaghetti western about a bunch of Nazi-hunting Americans is just Gott-awful… Quentin Tarantino’s cod-WW2 shlocker about a Jewish-American revenge squad intent on killing Nazis in German-occupied France is awful. It is achtung-achtung-ach-mein-Gott atrocious. It isn’t funny; it isn’t exciting; it isn’t a realistic war movie, yet neither is it an entertaining genre spoof or a clever counterfactual wartime yarn. It isn’t emotionally involving or deliciously ironic or a brilliant tissue of trash-pop references. Nothing like that. Brad Pitt gives the worst performance of his life, with a permanent smirk as if he’s had the left side of his jaw injected with cement, and which he must uncomfortably maintain for long scenes on camera without dialogue. And those all-important movie allusions are entirely without zing, being to stately stuff such as the wartime German UFA studio, GW Pabst etc, for which Tarantino has no feeling, displaying just a solemn Euro-cinephilia that his heart isn’t in. The expression on my face in the auditorium as the lights finally went up was like that of the first-night’s audience at Springtime for Hitler. Except that there is no one from Dusseldorf called Rolf to cheer us up.

BBC Website, Emma Jones.

Quentin Tarantino has made an eye-catching return to the Cannes Film Festival with Inglourious Basterds, an epic World War II movie set in Nazi-occupied France. Tarantino swaps fact for pulp fiction in Inglourious Basterds, a comic revenge fantasy about Jewish freedom fighters bringing down the Nazis in 1944… Once again, the US director has blurred film genres. Essentially it’s western meets war movie, with David Bowie on the soundtrack. And it becomes positively camp-operatic in parts – particularly in its portrayal of a shrill, semi-hysterical Adolf Hitler and British generals who could have been lifted from ‘Allo, ‘Allo… This is not an American movie. Rather, it’s Tarantino’s homage to the European cinema he adores. Indeed, there are so many scenes shot in French and German that an English-speaking audience will spend a lot of the film reading subtitles. Some will wish there were a few more, just so they can understand [Brad] Pitt’s Tennessee-born, almost incomprehensible character. Inglourious Basterds clocks in at nearly three hours, and its director could certainly have trimmed more of its flab. This, and Pitt’s character not getting the screen time he deserves, are the main disappointments. It can’t touch Pulp Fiction, which won the Palme d’Or in 1994 before going on to win an Oscar for its screenplay. Still, the consensus here at Cannes is Tarantino has made a glorious, silly, blood-spattered return to form.

The Times, Ben Hoyle

Quentin Tarantino stages a comeback with Inglourious Basterds…Quentin Tarantino stormed back to the scene of his greatest triumph today with a World War Two revenge film that critics greeted with relieved cheers. Inglourious Basterds is a violent, funny love letter to cinema filmed in four languages and starring Brad Pitt in the lead role. The snap verdict this morning was that it is not the former wunderkind director’s greatest achievement but should prove enough to resurrect his career.”

Empire Magazine

Empire has just seen Quentin Tarantino’s eagerly-awaited WWII flick, Inglourious Basterds, and it’s rather brilliant. Every bit as idiosyncratic as the spelling of its title, it’s a wonderfully-acted movie that subverts expectation at every turn. And it may represent the most confident, audacious writing and directing of QT’s career. Forget what you think you know is such a cliché, but here it more than applies… It’s an action movie that has barely any action. The Basterds themselves, including Brad Pitt’s Lt. Aldo Raine, are off-screen for long periods of time. And it takes wild liberties with history… This is a fairytale world, in which American soldiers can ghost behind enemy lines, scalp hundreds of Nazis and never get caught. And in which… no, we won’t go there. Not yet. But the ending is so thrillingly audacious that this reporter laughed out loud when it happened. Even when, having read the script, I knew it was coming… There are flaws, of course – what film doesn’t have flaws? But they may be exaggerated depending on your feelings about Tarantino.

This article was printed from