Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited WWII epic Inglourious Basterds premiered at the Cannes Film Festival mere hours ago, and so far critics seem to be finding the film entertaining, sure, if a tad too talkative. Would you expect anything less from the man? Here's a rundown of some early thoughts, and we've posted three new clips in between some of the quotes.
"Inglourious Basterds is great fun to watch, but the movie isn't entirely engaging. And it is defiantly an art film, not a calculatedly mainstream entertainment. Tarantino throws you out of the movie with titles, chapter headings, snatches of music. You don't jump into the world of the film in a participatory way; you watch it from a distance, appreciating the references and the masterful mise-en-scene. This is a film that will benefit from a second viewing. I can't wait to see it again." -- Anne Thompson, Variety
"The film is by no means terrible -- its running time of two hours and 32 minutes races by -- but those things we think of as being Tarantino-esque, the long stretches of wickedly funny dialogue, the humor in the violence and outsized characters strutting across the screen, are largely missing." Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
"Forget what you think you know is such a cliché, but here it more than applies. Tarantino has made a career out of subverting expectations – this is the man who made a heist flick without a heist, after all – but he's outdone himself with Basterds. 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." -- Chris Hewitt, Empire
More quotes and clips after the jump ...
"In the words of Tarantino, it's "the power of cinema bringing down the Third Reich 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. Pitt may get top billing, but he's not the star of the show. That honour goes to Christoph Waltz, a German TV star who plays SS officer Colonel Hans Landa." -- Emma Jones, BBC
"The film's two hours and 40 minutes long, and could be shorn of an hour just by picking up the tempo ... But I wouldn't even call "Inglourious Basterds" minor Tarantino -- it's flat-out tiresome, and from a commercial perspective, incredibly dicey. If this is the pony the Weinstein Company has picked, well, bless 'em, because it's hard to see this one pulling in crowds once word gets around." Alison Willmore, IFC
"There's a simplicity at the film's heart that makes it possible to see how Tarantino got this ready in time for Cannes having only started shooting last August. The film is composed of a small number of discreet long scenes - mainly dialogue-driven with flashes of action - that are set up and played virtually as chamber-pieces. To that end, the Tarantino film that this feels most like is probably Reservoir Dogs, albeit with the whole of Nazi-occupied France standing in for a single warehouse set. " -- David Cox, Film 4
"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. From the opening image of a French farmer chopping wood from a distance, you're thrown face first into a war movie that looks and feels like a spaghetti western." -- Sam Ashurst - Total Film
"But is it a masterpiece? Not exactly. Tarantino doesn't reach those heights this time, though he does kick things up a notch in a way that even I wasn't expecting. Basterds is a bit light on the action, heavy on the talking, and full of great performances. It's as awesome as Tarantino's first two films and as entertaining as his most recent few. It's the WWII movie we've been waiting to see." -- Alex Billington, First Showing
Inglourious Basterds hits theaters on August 21.