Cannes 2009: The Tomato Report ? Inglourious Splits Critics

But most agree it?s not Tarantino?s finest hour.

Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds got its long-awaited first screening this morning at the Cannes Film festival, with critics giving it a round of applause at its conclusion, but opinions gathered so far have been mixed.

The film follows a titular group of Allied soliders renowned for their skill, their ability to move within enemy lines and their astonishing brutality. They're the stuff of nightmares amongst the ranks of their victims and they like nothing more than scalping Nazis and bringing justice to occupied France. Loosely based on Enzo Castellari's 1978 exploitation classic, The Inglorious Bastards, it's a deliciously revisionist twist on World War II cinema.

Empire's Chris Hewitt is certainly a Tarantino fan, calling it "rather brilliant" and stating that it's "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."

Cannes 2009
Tarantino on the set of Basterds

The BBC's Emma Jones was also a fan of the film, calling it, "a glorious, silly, blood-splattered return." She did however, have some misgivings about the film's lengthy runtime, saying "At nearly three hours, its director could certainly have trimmed more of its flab."

Elsewhere, the critical reaction has been slightly less positive, with The Hollywood Reporter, Screen International and the Daily Telegraph all having problems with the lack of action and over-reliance on dialogue. They also echoed the BBC's problem with the film's length.

"There's not enough roaring or headhunting," writes The Telegraph's Sukhdev Sandhu. "Tarantino, one of the most exceptional choreographers of blood-ballet working today, should have wielded a cleaver to whole sections of this 154-minute non-epic. There is far too much yakking, some of it thickly accented and hard to follow, most of it without the rhythmic zing of his best work."

Screen International's Mike Goodridge repeats this sentiment. "The Cannes world premiere ran to a shorter-than-expected 154 minutes but it still offers considerable challenges to the attention span of mainstream audiences. Even though there is some action and a fair smattering of Tarantino's customary blood-spilling, the film-maker devotes much of the running time to dialogue."

Cannes 2009
Brad Pitt stars as Lt. Aldo Raine.

And The Hollywood Reporter simply states, "History will not repeat itself for Quentin Tarantino. While his Pulp Fiction arrived late at the Festival de Cannes and swept away the Palme d'Or in 1994, Inglourious Basterds merely continues the string of disappointments in this year's Competition."

But harshest criticism comes from Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian, who claims, "There are some nice-ish performances but everything is just so boring. He should perhaps go back to making cheerfully inventive outrageous films like Kill Bill. Because Kill Adolf hasn't worked out."

So all-in-all it seems that Tarantino's long-gestating drama is far from a return to form for the auteur. Whatever the case, Inglourious Basterds gets the red carpet treatment in Cannes this evening, while it will hit screens worldwide on August 21. Check out more from the Cannes Film Festival via our hub, and join us soon as, tomorrow, Michael Haneke returns to Cannes with The White Ribbon.

Comments

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

Well, I'm still excited to see it. Jackie Brown had mixed reviews and, to me, only gets better with every watching. Also, and I believe I'm one of the few, I feel the same way about Death Proof which is very talky.

May 20 - 08:53 AM

C4blewupmybaby

Jesse Bedwell

Remember, QT said that they had only just finished filming 3 months ago, or something like that. They still have until the end of July to edit the picture. I think that Tarantino was probably doing something very risky in that he was using Cannes as a sort of test screening for a film not yet released to the public.

May 20 - 09:01 AM

arendr

Arend Anton

Not really good news for those of us who hated Death Proof.

May 20 - 09:18 AM

Josh C.

Josh Compton

I'm still excited for the movie and I don't care about the mixed reviews. To say that a Quentin Tarantino movie is 'talky' is, by itself, completely ridiculous!!! The man has a talent for writing dialogue and that is what his movies are. Have these critics even seen Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction? Sure, they both had some blood, and I emphasize "some", but were mostly character studies with quite a bit of dialogue.

These critics are obviously basing their critiques off of Kill Bill... They think that all QT can do is action but in fact the reason he did Kill Bill was to prove that he could do more than just write dialogue. It sounds to me like Inglourious Basterds really IS a return to form because it has more story and dialogue and doesn't rely so heavily on action.

I will reserve my opinion for after I see it but I have a feeling I am going to enjoy it thoroughly based on the reviews it has gotten so far.

May 20 - 09:21 AM

Josh C.

Josh Compton

Also, I forgot to add. I never go into a Quentin Tarantino movies to see blood, gore and action. I go into a QT movie to be immersed in a world that I'm not used to and to meet larger than life characters who talk about down to earth topics.

Seriously, if any of these people have ever seen a Tarantino film, then they really should know what to expect: the unexpected. This isn't a regular WWII movie and it shouldn't be. It doesn't have to be overly violent like some movies. It just meant to be a story that takes place during WWII rather than a direct interpretation of what really happened during the war.

May 20 - 09:24 AM

Anthony N.

Anthony Nicholas

Yeah I hope Tarantino decides to cut the film down. Many reviewers agree that 20 minutes could be cut without any real interference with the overall story. The film could be more cohesive and less dull. I hope the Weinsteins put the pressure on him. Box Office will plummet after the first week if the dull and boring word of mouth spreads. He needs to understand that not every bit of dialogue he writes is brilliant.

May 20 - 09:26 AM

arendr

Arend Anton

John, the problem doesn't seem to necessarily be the amount of dialogue but rather the quality of it. Sure, Pulp Fiction is talky but it's never dull. Death Proof's dialogue was not just uninteresting, it was annoying.

Hopefully it's not like that. We shall see.

May 20 - 09:30 AM

Moonpig123

Nathan Scatcherd

This film will be awesome. Those who deride it for being "too talky" or "stupid" are being silly.

I for one will be seeing it as soon as it hits cinemas.

May 20 - 09:32 AM

JAKEofMIDWORLD

Jake Almond

I can't wait, **** a few critics. Lots of people disliked Kill Bill and when I read the reviews I was amazed, because at times it seemed like they saw a different film all together. Opinions are subjective however. Also, I liked Death Proof. Everyone in the theater clapped and reacted to that movie in a positive way so I know somebody else out there liked it.

May 20 - 09:41 AM

spitting into the wind

ciaran kelly

I don't particularly care what a bunch of critics have to say on the matter.
I will wait to see it myself.
I can't wait in fact.
A Tarantino movie heavily based on dialogue????????????
Shock MOTHER****ING Horror!!!!
Tarantino has never failed me yet. I have loved everyone of his movies.
Each in theri own way.
So I shall give him the benefit of the doubt over some **** from THR or The Guardian.

May 20 - 10:09 AM

Hari Seldon

R Whitten

I have never seen a Tarantino movie I didn't like so for me, bring it on.

May 20 - 10:11 AM

Fahd N.

Fahd Naber

I don't understand what's with all the critics against the lack of action and violence. It's not everything! I just came back from seeing Terminator Salvation and that movie is bloated with action... it was way too much, I got tired of it. It's a ****ing Tarantino film! Of coarse there's gonna be a lot of dialogue! I'd have to strongly agree with Josh C. on the fact that they're comparing this movie to the blood-bath that was Kill Bill (not saying it was a bad movie, I enjoyed that as well). They need to look back at Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, does were two amazing dialogue driven films. I read the leaked script and it was absolutely fantastic. Although, I will have to admit, it got a 'bit boring during chapter three, but it was necessary to set up what was coming. I heard that Tarantino changed a few things after the script was leaked, and judging from the trailer it looks like he just added more action... if they didn't like 'this' one they would have HATED the leaked script version. But I pray that he did not change the ending though, because that was absolutely PERFECT... and judging from the audience's reactions about the ending, it seems he left it alone. Wow, this has turned into quite the rant... Final word: **** the critics, I'm gonna see it. A dialogue packed film is what to expect from Tarantino. And again, action is NOT everything.

May 20 - 10:36 AM

Fahd N.

Fahd Naber

"The director has repeatedly stressed that despite it being a war film, the movie will be his "spaghetti-western but with World War II iconography""

May 20 - 10:39 AM

David H.

David Harrell

Is Tarantino an auteur, an idiot savant, or simply a narcissist. Possibly all three rolled into one. What he needs more than anything is a contrary voice in the editing room at the very least.

May 20 - 11:05 AM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

He needs a contrary voice in the editing room? You mean like the editor he's used on every film he's ever done including this one: Sally Menke? I think he's got that covered.

May 20 - 01:07 PM

JOW T.

JOW Marcello

I also love Death Proof it seems to get better and better. Anyone else notice during the ten minute dialogue scene at diner with one continuous shot that while girls are talking Stuntman Mike is eating at counter in background and when they talk of their plans to test drive car he pays bill and leaves, so thats how he knows where to find them. Took me like 5 times before i noticed. I will be at IB opening weekend its my Chinese Democracy.

May 20 - 12:18 PM

BatsInTheBelfry

Derek Meadors

I can't say I'm surprised. Tarantino has been a bit down lately, and no one can make great movies without having a few stinkers as well. I'm not sure if the insanely huge fans of Tarantino could ever dislike one of his movies (Deathproof proves that), but I always thought at some point that he'd try to expand his audience a bit. All he keeps doing is driving a further gap between his fanboys and everyone else.

May 20 - 12:33 PM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

What else has QT let you down on besides Death Proof? I can understand people not liking Death Proof, it was a Grindhouse movie, and Grindhouse movies aren't everyone's cup of tea. But what other stinkers has QT had? Everyone loves Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown is better than everyone thought in retrospect, and there aren't really that many people who like the Kill Bill movies, overall their fairly adored by most cinephiles and casual movie viewers alike. So how has QT been letting anyone down?

May 20 - 01:14 PM

BatsInTheBelfry

Derek Meadors

Good god, I knew this would happen. You guys need to realize not everyone thinks Tarantino is a living god. I said I was disappointed with his last movies. I haven't like anything since Pulp Fiction and think they keep getting worse and worse from an over-inflated ego. This is not a personal attack on you, so don't take it that way. Tarantino is not for everyone, deal with it.

May 20 - 05:58 PM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

No, you said he's been down lately, but if you don't like his output since Pulp Fiction that's your opinion. Your first comment was spoken as fact though.

May 20 - 06:49 PM

martinscorsese25

christopher cantos

@BatsInTheBelfry

i sense jealousy... are you one of those 40 year old movie geeks who still hasnt achieve something in life and jealous of a guy who actually made it BIG? My advice, write a script and sell it. You MAY make it BIG too you know. that is if somebody really wants to buy it... LOL

May 20 - 09:09 PM

BatsInTheBelfry

Derek Meadors

Nope, I'm 24 and a paralegal. I have no interest in making movies, I 'm just not a Tarantino fan. It's that simple.

May 20 - 11:24 PM

Dunk

Mark Homer

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with a film being dialogue driven when such dialogue add either to the plot or go to fully realizing interesting characters and their motiviations (as they relate to the plot). While I don't think Death Proof was awful, the problem I had with much of the dialogue is that it did neither of these, but appeared to me to be QT simply saying "look, I know how cool women talk in real life and I want to show you." It took me a full five minutes to completely understand the women and their motivations (the little they had) and the rest of the dialogue was meaningless to me and didn't seem to drive anything in the movie. Is it really a good thing for a film to have 10 minutes of meaningless dialogue with one nugget of information that might be important to the plot that took someone five times seeing the movie to catch (personally, I don't think so). It is also absurd to compare Death Proof to Resevoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction; becuase, while both of the latter were dialogue heavy, the dialogue, for the most part, went to understanding these conflicted and interesting characters and why they acted the way they did as it related to the overall plot of those movies. The same can't be said about Death Proof. I have no problem with those of you who enjoyed Death Proof, but, if Basterds is akin to it, I'm disappointed.

May 20 - 12:48 PM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

Comparing Death Proof to anything QT has done is ridiculous, it's also ridiculous to compare Death Proof to Inglorious Basterds!

Does anyone know how a Grindhouse movie is made?

Unlike movies nowadays, Grindhouse movies were made fast and on the cheap. You write a quick draft, rarely doing any rewrites on it, and then you film it quick. Grindhouse movies were made a lot like porn, very little thought, write it quick, film it quick and cheap, and get it out as fast as possible. In other words, Death Proof wasn't a film that Tarantino had really thought about before him and Rodriguez came up with the idea. And I'm sure he didn't give it too much thought after writing the first draft because that was the mentallity of Grindhouse Cinema.

Every other idea Tarantino's had, though, he's worked on for years. Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Natural Born Killers all started their gestation period in the late 80's early 90's (this is also the time period that Inglorious Basterds was conceived). Kill Bill was conceived during the filming of Pulp Fiction. Jackie Brown was a film Tarantino had in his mind from the time he was a pre to early teen.

Everyone keeps saying, "If this is anything like Death Proof...", but it can't be anything like Death Proof because this is a movie he's been putting together for years, Death Proof was put together in months. There's a huge difference in the gestational period of a movie and how much is planned out ahead of time.

May 20 - 01:38 PM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

He needs a contrary voice in the editing room? You mean like the editor he's used on every film he's ever done including this one: Sally Menke? I think he's got that covered.

May 20 - 01:07 PM

JOW T.

JOW Marcello

I am no way comparing Death Proof to Pulp or Dogs, but it seems to be on the movie channels every night and I find myself watching it over and over, (along with In Bruges, Darjeleeing Limited, and Eastern Promises), can't stop and don't know why other than i like them.

May 20 - 01:12 PM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

What else has QT let you down on besides Death Proof? I can understand people not liking Death Proof, it was a Grindhouse movie, and Grindhouse movies aren't everyone's cup of tea. But what other stinkers has QT had? Everyone loves Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown is better than everyone thought in retrospect, and there aren't really that many people who like the Kill Bill movies, overall their fairly adored by most cinephiles and casual movie viewers alike. So how has QT been letting anyone down?

May 20 - 01:14 PM

BatsInTheBelfry

Derek Meadors

Good god, I knew this would happen. You guys need to realize not everyone thinks Tarantino is a living god. I said I was disappointed with his last movies. I haven't like anything since Pulp Fiction and think they keep getting worse and worse from an over-inflated ego. This is not a personal attack on you, so don't take it that way. Tarantino is not for everyone, deal with it.

May 20 - 05:58 PM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

No, you said he's been down lately, but if you don't like his output since Pulp Fiction that's your opinion. Your first comment was spoken as fact though.

May 20 - 06:49 PM

martinscorsese25

christopher cantos

@BatsInTheBelfry

i sense jealousy... are you one of those 40 year old movie geeks who still hasnt achieve something in life and jealous of a guy who actually made it BIG? My advice, write a script and sell it. You MAY make it BIG too you know. that is if somebody really wants to buy it... LOL

May 20 - 09:09 PM

BatsInTheBelfry

Derek Meadors

Nope, I'm 24 and a paralegal. I have no interest in making movies, I 'm just not a Tarantino fan. It's that simple.

May 20 - 11:24 PM

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