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Inglourious Basterds proves a hit at Cannes

Inglourious Basterds

Preview by Jack Foley

QUENTIN Tarantino has enjoyed a triumphant return to Cannes with most critics hailing his World War Two flick Inglourious Basterds a hit.

The two and a half hour epic is set in Nazi-occupied France and stars Brad Pitt as Lieutenant Aldo Raine, the leader of a gang of Jewish-American soldiers whose self-proclaimed mission is “to kill as many Nazis as possible”.

It’s divided into five chapters, features David Bowie on the soundtrack and some narration from Samuel L Jackson, and boasts a truly international cast that includes the likes of Diane Kruger and Michael Fassbender.

Leading the fanfare of approval was the BBC’s Emma Jones, who said: “Inglourious Basterds clocks in at nearly three hours, and its director could certainly have trimmed more of its flab. This, and Pitt’s character not getting the screen time he deserves, are the main disappointments.

“It still can’t touch Pulp Fiction, which won the Palme D’Or in 1994, but the reaction here at Cannes is that Quentin Tarantino has made a glorious, silly, blood-spattered return.

“He is royalty at this festival – and as long as you can suspend disbelief and offence, he remains the king of trashy cinema.”

Empire Online, meanwhile, declared that “it may represent the most confident, audacious writing and directing of QT’s career”.

Their Cannes blogger Chris Hewitt added: “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.”

There were exceptions who found the film disappointing. Among them was the Hollywood Reporter, which wrote: “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, his World War II action movie Inglourious Basterds merely continues the string of disappointments in this year’s competition.

“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.”

Inglourious Basterds opens in UK cinemas in August 2009.