Sunday 17 November 2019
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The Hateful Eight – by Anne Brodie


Directed and written by Quentin Tarantino

Starring Kurt Russell, Jenifer Jason Light, Samuel L. Jackson

Rating 2.5 /5

When critics and moviegoers come out of Tarantino’s latest bloodbath and say they enjoyed it and its cinematic inspirations and history and whatnot, I’m pretty sure they’re lying.  Tarantino has his adherents, come hell or high water and they’re busily giving it 100 and praising its artfully regurgitated and painfully sycophantic, tired old movie tropes. 

I call bullshit. The Hateful Eight is not masterful or thrilling as much as a slog through pools of bad blood. The Guardian hails it as “breathtakingly stylish and clever film”.  It is so “breathtaking” that you’ll be looking at the exit counting down to your chance to run and shower and perhaps lose the expensive lunch you just had.

Tarantino plays his predictable and here-we-go again game well though, pushing ever further into savagery for laughs, indulging in his characters’ evil psychopathy and brutalizing not only them but his audience.

The use of Technicolor, his big calling card this time out, which requires special screening rooms, much effort in handling heavy reels, a much-anticipated but probably truncated road show (due to a little thing called Star Wars) is completely wasted.

Of nearly three hours three minute yet endless interlude and too short intermission, we have merely a peek at the thing he’s meant to capture on Technicolor – the Old West in its au natural majesty and man as rabid tiny skunks next to it.  Well, joke’s on us. 

Tarantino uses the rarely used and nostalgic technology to shoot endlessly talky cramped scenes in a stage coach and a brown study of a darkish cabin shot through with red blood and fire.  Oh, and nighttime. 

The thing is what happens between bands of outlaws played by four actors familiar with Oscars and another four.  Use your imagination and you’ll know precisely what goes on in the cabin. It’s Tarantino and God knows he doesn’t progress from his recipe of violence, chatter and cool poses.

People say “but Hateful Eight is funny!”  It is so not funny; it’s shocking, ironic, startling and off beat at times but saying that it is funny is delusional. It is a film that celebrates hate through abuses of all kinds, gunshots and rivers of blood.

Tarantino isn’t to be dismissed out of hand. Indeed Jackie Blown was nothing short of feminist awesome and the feel good Holocaust bloodbath Inglourious Basterds was exhilarating because the right people – the entire Nazi leadership – were blown away by a woman.

Jennifer Jason Leigh’s brutally tortured character is an ancestor of Jackie Brown, but after three hours of Tarantino throwing up his personal demons for us to relish, it’s small potatoes.  The film is a horrific slog, a dare from a provocateur.

Some provocateur.  He got me. I was provoked damn straight.

I can add that I am provoked that I’m even talking about the film and buying into his long marketing scheme from the “leaked” script to the naked fact that the film can’t be seen and not discussed.

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