The Hateful Eight

theThere are people who worship Quentin Tarantino. And, I suspect, there are people who can’t stand his movies. I’m very much in the middle. He’s turned in a couple of clunkers (Deathproof and Jackie Brown spring to mind) and he’s done one very nearly perfect film (Pulp Fiction). Everything else he’s done falls into the category of “Hey, that was pretty good.” The Hateful Eight is no exception.

What the film has going for it is a crackerjack script, amazing performances and fantastic cinematography. (I got a chance to see it in its 70mm format, complete with an old school overture and intermission.)

The film is mostly a closed-room mystery. Who’s not who they claim to be? Who did what bad thing and why? That kind of business. Which is perfect for a filmmaker so focused on dialogue like Tarantino. But, because we’re constantly trying to figure out who to trust, we have no one particularly to root for. We’re never inside the skin of any character. That makes the deaths (Spoiler alert! More than one character dies!) less about emotional involvement, and more about the gore effects that accompany them. And they’re pretty amazing. But still, since precious few characters are truly innocent, and every little victory is tarnished, there’s no real gut-punch moments.

I sound like I’m down on the film. I’m not. I’m just trying to make clear (without spoiling anything) why I can’t call this film great. It’s really close, but the structure alone keeps it away from that level for me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s