Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds has screened to the international press at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Update: I have updated this story with excerpts from the first official reviews.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt gives his quick video review, which is ultimately negative (beware of possible spoilers):
Total Film’s Sam Ashurst: “Not only did I love every minute, if the French projectionist wanted to cue it up and roll it again from the start, I would have sat through the whole film again, with the biggest grin on my face. This is Quentin’s best film since Jackie Brown. It might even be his best film since Pulp Fiction.” “[Eli Roth is] the only weak link I could spot” … “Tarantino dialogue at its best” … “QT’s magpie eye has never been sharper, swooping down on Italian cinema and plucking the very best shots, framing and music to create a deserving homage to the spaghetti westerns of my youth.”
Empire’s Chris Hewitt : “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.” … “The performances are superb across-the-board.” “[Christoph Waltz] may be a shoo-in for a Best Supporting Oscar nom” … “Some of his Grindhouse flourishes – large captions stamped on screen, the usual flirting with structure and chronology, offbeat musical cues (a David Bowie track shows up at one point) and the sudden introduction of a hip narrator (Samuel L. Jackson) – may irk some” … “certainly very talky,”
Showbiz411’s Roger Friedman: “a big sprawling entertainment that’s less violent than you’d expect and a tad more intellectual, too. … “Tarantino fans won’t be disappointed but they may be challenged” … “Brad Pitt is excellent” … ” feels sometimes disjointed.” … “less brutal action than expected” … ” IB is a fairy tale at heart.”
Total Film’s Jonathan Dean : “Much of Basterds felt flat, with a schizophrenic spaghetti western style that blasts Ennio Morricone at the start and then David Bowie later on.” … “Enjoyable? Sure. But for 2 hours and 40 minutes it’s a big ask to keep brattishness exhilarating.” … “well worth watching and admirably ambitious and single-minded,” … “Inglourious Basterds will split viewers.”
The Guardian: “[Basterds] 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.”
Movieline: “If [Christophe Waltz] performance doesn’t get an Oscar nomination, expect riots. ” … “Unfortunately, it’s all downhill after the promising opening scene.” … “character development is nowhere to be found.” … ” its hard to care much about what happens to anybody on screen. Still, to its credit, the film has some marvelous moments” … “More time fleshing out characters and less time showcasing stylistic flourishes might have helped make it glorious indeed”
indieWIRE: “delivers on the colorful brand of unserious entertainment implied by the plot, but no matter how much extreme contextualization and heavily stylized techniques Tarantino introduced to the production, “Inglorious Basterds” feels like a bubblegum sidedish to the heavy dinner plate of his career.” … “it’s a talk-fest.” … “lacks the crackly excitement of Tarantino’s other efforts, mainly because he can’t seem to tie the whole package together. ”
Matt Dentler on AICN: “It’s not Tarantino’s ultimate masterpiece, but it’s a fantastic film and delivers on the promise of a literate (if not historically accurate) and exciting (if not briskly paced) WWII action drama.” … “dialogue-heavy scenes work rather well” … “the film as a whole is a great ride.
Variety : “By turns surprising, nutty, windy, audacious and a bit caught up in its own cleverness, the picture is a completely distinctive piece of American pop art with a strong Euro flavor that’s new for the director.”
Early Twitter Buzz:
FirstShowing : Inglourious Basterds was frickin’ awesome! This is the WW2 movie we’ve all been waiting to see!! Lots of talking scenes, but still great! Diff than I was expecting, but I think Tarantino is back in action, hell yea!! The action is kind of minimal, but that’s Tarantino for you, lots of talking, but great story, I loved it!
Alison Willmore (abridged): INGLOURIOUS BASTARDS: Soooooooooooooooo Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch Taaaaaaaaaalkiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!
empiremagazine: Glorious Basterds, as it turns out… very, very good, subverting expectations at every corner. Should make Michael Fassbender a star – C It’s utterly unpredictable. When it looks like going one way, it twists the other, & the ending… so audacious it provokes giddy laughter. Christoph Waltz, as Jew Hunter Hans Landa, is a revelation. Shoo-in for Best Supporting Nom. Looks like evil Rob Brydon too. All performances are uniformly grand. Pitt’s hilarious. And the film has two or three scenes that rival anything in QT’s career for tension.
BBCEntsTeam: Surely Tarantino’s best film since Pulp Fiction. Goody!! Brad Pitt is superb… It’s flabby in parts… And (spoiler?) Tarantino has produced an alternative ending to WWII
Nadianeo : Inglourious Basterds was almost 3 hours long but a good watch-lotsa typical Tarantino moves
monggaard [Strange] film, Inglourious Basterds. [In a good way]. Tarantino pulls no punches. Revenge, Jewish style.
joakimt: “Inglourus Basterds” as expected. Quite funny and violent, and far from Tarantinos best workNo sustained applause for “Inglourious Basterds”. No boos either.
Hyams: INGLORIOUS BASTERDS: a light comedy about killing Nazis. My low expectations were met. \\
owfilm: Just came out of Cannes screening… Inglorious Basterds – Absolute F**CKING quality! “It gets a bit silly for ten minutes at the end and the brit characters are a bit shit”.
djmecca: just saw Inglorious Basterds in Cannes. […} the movie works and is the best competing film Ive seen at the fest so far.
Jesseblanco: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS ( Cannes ), steadfast and strong, a linguistic’s dream, not historically acurate in a GREAT way.
gkilday Basterds turns out it’s the grindhouse version of “Valkyrie”
TVCalling: Bottom line of Basterds: entertaining but nothing ground-breaking