By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 9, 2009 at 1:52AM
Quentin Tarantino's recut of Inglourious Basterds is one minute longer than the Cannes version, and much improved. It's a gorgeous movie with a great eclectic soundtrack crammed with everything from Ennio Morricone to a brilliant use of David Bowie's "Putting Out the Fire." (Trivia question: what movie debuted that song?)
Knowing what it was, I could settle in and enjoy the pleasures of a Tarantino film. Going in, most people are expecting a World War II war movie starring bad-ass Nazi Hunter Brad Pitt, but there's not much of that. Here's my Cannes review. It's a segmented, five-part drama shot in different styles. Part one is genius, the most overt homage to Sergio Leone. Part two is more Guns of Navarone, then you get into the French New Wave, etc. Tarantino is in love with each and every one of his characters and set-pieces and lets them play out, sometimes at too much length. He thinks we're just as interested as he is and misreads the pacing in several long scenes. The restored scene before the La Louisiane bar-room sequence is intended to heighten the tension.
The movie's star is German actor Christoph Waltz, who landed the role of Colonel Hans Landa because he could speak fluent German, French, English and Italian. He's a villain you love to hate and enjoy watching every minute that he is on screen. In fact, the Europeans do better than the Americans in this movie, all around.
Inglourious Basterds is great fun--for cinephiles. It's not a mainstream movie. If it gets to $50 million domestic there will be cheers through the corridors of Universal and Weinstein Co. And it should easily do better than that overseas.
IESB has posted nine clips.