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Reviews of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds"

Quentin Tarantino's latest film, the oddly misspelled "Inglourious Basterds," opens in theaters Friday. Starring Brad Pitt, it tells the story of a crew of Nazi hunters during World War II. As in all of Tarantino's works, he relies heavily on pop culture, and liberally borrows from other films. Here's a sampling of reviews:

With "Inglourious Basterds," Quentin Tarantino has made his best movie since "Pulp Fiction." He has also made what could arguably be considered the most audacious World War II movie of all-time. If you think there are rules for this sort of motion picture, guess again... It's one hell of an enjoyable ride into the nightmare that was Nazi-occupied France, and thinking you know how it all ends doesn't make it so.
-- James Berardinelli, Reelviews

The film is by no means terrible -- its two hours and 32 minutes running time 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... Otherwise the film lacks not only tension but those juicy sequences where actors deliver lines loaded with subtext and characters drip menace with icy wit. Tarantino never finds a way to introduce his vivid sense of pulp fiction within the context of a war movie.
-- Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter

Like all Quentin Tarantino movies, "Inglourious Basterds" is exasperating, absurd, cruel, cynical, sneeringly arrogant, racist, elitist, naïvely derivative and viciously funny. It is also one whale of a rigorous entertainment... I had a helluva time watching "Inglourious Basterds." It’s as frenzied as a dog in heat. Mr. Tarantino lacks nuance, but he’s an erratic, awkward and often brilliant filmmaker.
-- Rex Reed, The New York Observer

If only Quentin Tarantino the director weren't so completely in love with Quentin Tarantino the writer, "Inglourious Basterds" might have been a great movie rather than just a good movie with moments of greatness. Everything that's thrilling and maddening about his films co-exists and co-mingles here: the visual dexterity and the interminable dialogue, the homage to cinema and the self-glorifying drive to redefine it, the compelling bursts of energy and the numbingly draggy sections.
-- Christy Lemire, Associated Press

Quentin Tarantino's fevered fantasia "Inglourious Basterds" makes the delirious assertion that World War II was won through a combination of the power of movies and the prowess of a band of renegades led by Brad Pitt as a twanging moonshine-maker. So it's perhaps unnecessary to point out that the blithe misspellings in the movie's title are a delirious touch of nonsense too -- the whim of a filmmaker who's a bit of a renegade himself.
-- Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

Very little in “Basterds” is meant to be taken straight, but the movie isn’t quite farce, either. It’s lodged in an uneasy nowheresville between counterfactual pop wish fulfillment and trashy exploitation, between exuberant nonsense and cinema scholasticism... “Inglourious Basterds” is not boring, but it’s ridiculous and appallingly insensitive—a Louisville Slugger applied to the head of anyone who has ever taken the Nazis, the war, or the Resistance seriously.
-- David Denby, The New Yorker


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