Before Willem Dafoe’s Gainsbourg-ravaged genitals became the talk of the festival, Quentin Tarantino’s Nazi-scalping WWII comedy Inglourious Basterds was easily the most-anticipated film at Cannes. This morning, though, critics were finally treated to the movie’s entire two hours and 32 minutes and, so far, the response has not been encouraging. When we read the screenplay last summer, we envisioned either something over-the-top and awesome or a spectacular flaming disaster. Shows what we know! According to most reviews, it’s boring.
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw calls it an “armor-plated turkey”:
“There are some nice-ish performances, particularly from Fassbender and Waltz, but everything is just so boring. I was hoping for Shosanna at least to get a satisfying revenge on the unspeakable Col Landa. But no. The two Hitler-assassination plots cancel each other out dramatically and the director’s moderate reserves of narrative interest are exhausted way before the end. He should perhaps go back to making cheerfully inventive outrageous films like Kill Bill. Because Kill Adolf hasn’t worked out.”
Movieline’s David Bourgeois just didn’t give a crap:
Yet despite all of Tarantino’s typically intricate plot weavings, character development is nowhere to be found. We never know the Basterds, Dreyfus remains a mysterious figure, and Col. Landa, the real main character of the film, is only minimally developed. By the end of the film — almost two-and-a-half hours later — its hard to care much about what happens to anybody on screen.
The Hollywood Reporter says Tarantino blew his shot at a second Palme d’Or:
“The film is by no means terrible … 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.”
Even so, this thing’s not out until August, which leaves Tarantino plenty of time to give it a surf-rock soundtrack or shoot few kung-fu scenes.