The Hateful Eight
Quentin Tarantino drives me crazy. Usually when I hear him speak, I think “What an asshole!” And then I see his new film, and he stuns me once again. Of his eight films (and the opening credits proclaim “The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino!”) the only one I didn’t like at all was the Deathproof segment of Grindhouse, though I thought Jackie Brown wasn’t all that good. But Pulp Fiction was one of the best, most ground-breaking movies ever made. That it lost Best Picture to that silly little fable Forrest Gump stands as the worst mistake the Academy ever made. Anyway, the man is maybe the best director working in terms of stunning and alarming visuals, and amazing dialogue. Nobody writes like Tarantino does, though he now has a lot of imitators. He takes ideas and inspiration from some of the sleaziest cinema ever made, like spaghetti westerns, Hong Kong chop-socky movies, blaxploitation, and drive-in flicks, and turns the trash into gold.
The man just loves the movies. For this one he moved heaven and earth to resurrect the Ultra-Panavision 70 format, super widescreen cameras not used since Khartoum way back in 1966! It was shown in a roadshow mode in cities where there were projectors to screen it. I wish I’d seen it in one. Even on the DVD the hugeness of the images was apparent. It must have been one tough shoot, too, at least until they got onto the sound stages. I can tell you, most of movie-making is standing around while someone else does something, and the outdoor scenes with the deep snow had to have been terribly cold.
One thing I hadn’t known: All of his pictures have made money. Every one. He has had no flops. Very few directors can say that.
This one does everything he is noted for, and does it well. The time sequence is fractured. We see a scene, and then we skip back to a day earlier and learn much more about the scene. There is the fabulous dialogue, including a long speech by Samuel L. Jackson that left me stunned. There is the cunning use of the camera. Naturally, there is the sudden, unexpected crazy violence. This is one bloody movie. Above all, there are the surprises. You never know where a Tarantino film is going. Characters you were sure were going to be in for the long haul are suddenly dead. Seeing this film makes you aware of just how predictable 99% of movies are. And, it is almost three hours long, and I was not bored for one second.
To say this movie is not for everyone is a huge understatement. If you can’t bear to see exploding heads and stuff like that, avoid this at all costs. And, of course, these days I feel I have to issue a trigger warning. The characters say “nigger” a lot. If your delicate ears simply can’t abide that word, stay home. Please. Stay there forever.