Inglourious Basterds: first reviews roll in

Quentin Tarantino’s eagerly awaited new film premieres in Cannes, but the reaction’s just a little on the frosty side…

Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, the long-awaited World War II movie Inglourious Basterds, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday. And that means that the reviews for it have started to emerge.

And thus far, it’s been quite a mixed bag, if anything edging towards the negative.

Movieline gave it a middling review, praising the likes of the opening, Mike Myers’ cameo and some of the film’s moments. But it still concludes that “Inglourious Basterds felt slight. More time fleshing out characters and less time showcasing stylistic flourishes might have helped make it glorious indeed.”

The Guardian, meanwhile, hated it, calling it a “colossal armour-plated turkey from hell”. It continued: “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 praised some of the performances, but ultimately damned the film because “everything is just so boring”.

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Variety is more upbeat, describing the film as a “violent fairy tale”, calling some moments “vintage Tarantino”. It argues that the film is “Never less than enjoyable and more than that in the second half”, given that it “invests a long-simmering revenge plot with reworkings of innumerable genre conventions, but only fully finds its tonal footing about halfway through, after which it’s off to the races”.

IndieWire wasn’t bowled over, either. “The disconnected ingredients don’t mean that the movie lacks the ability to deliver a good time, but simply that it never rises above the sense of a juvenile cinephilic rush job, and everyone knows Tarantino can do better than that,” it said.

BBC Entertainment, meanwhile, sent out a Twitter update on the way out of the film. “Just emerged from the Inglourious Basterds premiere in Cannes,” it said. “Surely Tarantino’s best film since Pulp Fiction.”

Showbiz 411 argues that the film is “big, sprawling entertainment”, and “the most ambitious American movie at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and definitely the best in competition”. It argues that “Tarantino fans won’t be disappointed, but they may be challenged more than in the past as this film is more thoughtful and textured in its approach than Tarantino’s other famous efforts”.

Screen Daily calls the film “intermittently-inspired”, describing the film as a “series of long-running vignettes strung together by a slender story thread”. It warns that the film “offers considerable challenges to the attention span of mainstream audiences”.

Click on the links below to jump to the full reviews, and the film makes it to these shores in August.

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MovielineThe Guardian Variety IndiewireShowbiz 411 Screen Daily