The hateful eight (Quentin Tarantino, 2015)

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The hateful eight, directed by Quentin Tarantino (2015).

Score: Tarantino being Tarantino.

It’s hard for me to hide my dislike of (most of) Quentin Tarantino’s work. It’s hard for me to artistically respect someone who has made a career of thinly veiled plagiarism and brags about only liking (and plagiarising) bad movies. But people kept telling me that the film was at least some fun and, well. I’m dubbing it The Hateful 167 Minutes I Spent Watching This Pile of Garbage.

The hateful eight tells the story of John Ruth “The Hangman” (Kurt Russell), a bounty hunter who is taking murderer Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to be hung in a village called Red Rock. Along the way they also encounter bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and the new Sheriff of Red Rock, Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). A huge blizzard is chasing them, so they decide to take shelter in Minnie’s Haberdashery, where they find English Hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern), Bob the Mexican (Demián Bichir) taking care of the house while Minnie is away and a Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) who is coming home to his mother for Christmas. And then shit hits the fan because they’re all murderous pieces of shit that can’t trust one another.

So there are two main aspects to the film. For one there are a bunch of bounty hunters, murdererers, war criminals and whatnot locked in a house in the middle of a blizzard and almost twenty thousand dollars in bounties at stake. Mindless violence ensues, naturally and because you came to watch a Tarantino flick. The second aspect is all the post Civil War subtext, including people from different sides of the conflict finding that they have to be in each other’s presence, and will have to until everyone who took part in the war has died. After such a conflict many people have to live with having done horrible things to their fellow citizens, to their brothers and sisters if you want to put it that way. It’s great to write about these topics and you don’t need to be an auteur to do it, you can make an entertaining film that makes people think about such issues. What really infuriates me is Tarantino’s short-sightedness and lack of subtlety and tact. It’s like he’s saying: “I’m treating racial issues so I’m entitled to use the N-word sixty-five times because it’s so much fun to use it”. I find it mildly offensive that Jennifer Jason Leigh has obtained an Oscar nomination for a role where the only thing she does is being shoved around in cuffs and beaten to bloody shambles. It annoys me a lot that a middle-aged white man glorifies and romaticises racist slurs and misogyny and calls it his artistic liberty just because the movie included some poor excuses of reflection on race and gender.

And even if you don’t want to think about any of that the movie is not fun at all. It’s slow and boring and utterly unoriginal. Tarantino insisted in shooting it on Ultra Panavision 70, a format only used by literally other ten movies in history, and he chose it for some reason that seriously eludes me. Having an intermission so the cinema staff can change the reel in 2016 is something I find quite depressing. Tim Roth’s accent, for goodness’ sake. The vomit scene is just as ridiculous as that one from Family Guy. If you want to write a comedy, do it, if you want to write a drama, do it. If you overdo drama it just becomes grotesque. (Compare and contrast a climactic scene near the end of Glamorama.) At least Tarantino has improved at shooting firelit scenes and we didn’t have to endure the Orange Faces of Doom like in Django Unchained.

Well, everyone’s liking it, so if you go and watch it I hope you have all the fun I didn’t.

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