This Friday, the Weinstein Company is releasing their new film from Quentin Tarantino, “Inglorious Basterds,” a film about a group of scalping American Jews who seek to sabotage the Third Reich. With the release of the new Quentin Tarantino film comes discussions of a director’s megalomania, his obsession with pop culture, his adoration of his own idiosyncrasies. A reviewer not enamored with the man from the get-go, like Entertainment Weekly‘s Lisa Schwarzbaum, who says, “His orthographic choices seem to say, Love me, love my idiosyncrasies — fun with words is only a hint of the coming attractions.” The B review ends, “In Tarantino’s besotted historical reverie, real-life villains Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels are played as grotesque jokes. The Basterds are played as exaggeratedly tough Jews. The women are femmes fatales. In such a cartoon world, the appearance of one stereotype-resistant protagonist — a Nazi, no less — counts as something glorious indeed.” Karina Longworth, on Spout Blog, complains, “Ultimately, ‘Basterds’ is just tedious to watch, not necessarily because it’s so talky, but because the talkiness is supremely vacant. The pleasure you get from the talkiness in ‘Pulp Fiction’ comes from feeling as though you’re spending time in the company of fantastic storytellers.”
The New Yorker‘s David Denby is, indeed, not a fan. “The film is skillfully made, but it’s too silly to be enjoyed, even as a joke. Tarantino may think that he is doing Jews a favor by launching this revenge fantasy (in the burning theatre, working-class Jewish boys get to pump Hitler and Göring full of lead), but somehow I doubt that the gesture will be appreciated. Tarantino has become an embarrassment: his virtuosity as a maker of images has been overwhelmed by his inanity as an idiot de la cinémathèque.” Mike Goodridge, in Screen, tackles the business prospects of the film. “Above-the-title star Brad Pitt plays the captain of a troupe of Jewish American renegades dubbed the Inglorious Bastards, but Pitt is far from the centre of attention and both French actress Melanie Laurent and German actor Christoph Waltz both have more screen time and juicier roles. That, combined with the fact that most of the film is in French and German, will limit the film’s box office prospects, principally in the subtitle-wary US.”
There is an overwhelming consensus on the acting performances. Though there is a huge media blitz behind Brad Pitt’s role in the film, most reviewers find his role lackluster. Winner of the award for Best Actor at Cannes, Christoph Waltz, an Austrian actor is gaining Oscar buzz. And like Uma Thurman before them, the women of “Inglourious Basterds,” Mélanie Laurent and Diane Kruger, are standouts, idolized by Tarantino’s kino eye.
Uber-geek Jenna Busch, writing on the Huffington Post, praises the film, “I’m aware that Tarantino’s style is not for everyone. And the violence is definitely intense. But I haven’t been more entertained by an action flick this year. And considering the number of explosion-filled robot movies, that’s saying quite a bit.”
Tarantino, earlier in the month, released a trailer for the film within the film, “Nation’s Pride,” a fictitious Nazi propaganda film: