1st Basterds reviews!
Last night Quentin Tarantino's INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and reviews almost immediately started popping up all over the web. As with a lot of Tarantino's work, word on the film was decidedly mixed with some coming down hard on it and others praising it to the high heavens. Throughout all the reviews though, two things were constant: there's a lot of talking and Christoph Waltz (the Nazi villain Hans Landa) is an early frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor. Check out what some of the early reviews are saying below:
Hollywood Elsewhere - It's not great. It's a Quentin chit-chat personality film in World War II dress-up. It's arch and very confidently rendered from QT's end, but it's basically talk, talk, talk. Tension appears in a couple of scenes (especially the first -- an interrogation of a French farmer by a German officer looking for hidden Jews) but overall story tension is fairly low. No characters are subjected to tests of characters by having to make hard choices and stand up for what they believe, and nobody pours their heart out. What they do is yap their asses off...That said, the two best performances are given by Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa -- a great malicious Nazi -- and Melanie Laurent as Shoshanna Dreyfus, a French farm girl who escapes Landa's grasp and winds up running a Parisian cinema.
Empire Online - 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. Landa was the role that Tarantino struggled to fill, so much so that he might have had to pass on making the movie had he not filled it. But in Waltz, he’s found gold...The Austrian actor is fantastic: oleaginous, chilling and often devilishly charming. It’s certainly very talky, and there’s no doubt that Tarantino is in love with the sound of his characters’ voices, but QT dialogue is so much better than most other screenwriters that it’s hard to quibble.
Showbiz 411 - 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. The film is told in chapters and feels sometimes disjointed. There’s less brutal action than expected (although plenty for some). The longest and most riveting sequence takes place in a German bar and involves Diane Kruger as a German film star who’s trying to help the allies. Michael Fassbender is top notch driving this piece which will definitely push his career ahead several paces.
Time Out London - Inglourious Basterds is, a lot of the time, a little more restrained, a little quieter than we’ve come to expect from films like ‘Death Proof’ and ‘Kill Bill’. What’s not so clear is what he wants to do with all this, as the film flits between comedy and violence, revenge and tragedy, sometimes easily, sometimes less comfortably...And then it all falls apart in the last fifteen minutes, making his plundering of the Second World War for this bloody, goofy and morally suspect extreme revenge movie very hard to swallow.
Total Film - While the opening, gripping chapter – set in a French peasant house in 1941 – is excellent and a final cinema (where else?) foyer scene is epic in its grandeur with sweeping cameras and impeccable set design, much of Basterds felt flat, with a schizophrenic spaghetti western style that blasts Ennio Morricone at the start and then David Bowie later on.
First Showing - So why isn't this a masterpiece if its got top-notch performances and a great story? Maybe it's that I wanted more action, or to spend more time with the Basterds, or get a more detailed look at the whole story, that prevented this from reaching those heights. Even though it ran 148 minutes, it still felt like Tarantino had edited it down heavily and cut out plenty of scenes. I never read the script, so I can't make that comparison, but I will say my expectations were definitely not in line with what Tarantino delivered in the end. That's not bad, but I just had to rearrange my expectations part way through. And while I don't think this gem is polished to perfection, it is definitely a new Tarantino favorite that I can't wait to watch again.