A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Produced By: Richard N. Gladstein, Shannon McIntosh, Stacey Sher
Written By: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russel, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins
Running Time: 187 Minutes (Roadshow Version)
If there’s one thing that defines Quentin Tarantino, it’s that he thrives on pushing boundaries. Through subject matter, interpretation of history or the amount of cussing in a picture, he certainly leaves a lasting impression not matter how you feel about him emerging from the other side.
In this, his eighth and most daring picture to date, Tarantino decides The Hateful Eight is the perfect project to present in a long-dormant aspect – the extra wide 70mm Ultra Panavision. Yes, even after all is seemingly said and done, the maestro manages to push the boundaries once again.
Few examples showcase Q.T’s revolutionarily revivalistic approach to cinema better than his latest outing. With the foundation apparently being resurrection, he manages to solidify the resurgence of the western genre, reignite the presumed obsolete Panavision format, give younger audiences a taste of “The Roadshow Experience” and reenergise the career of Kurt Russell, all in 187 minutes (not including interval and Ennio Morricone’s overture).
Before you assume otherwise, no, the western (in its most classic form) is not back, however as he has demonstrated before, Tarantino has reminded audiences of their greatness and significance, all the while smothering the picture with his blood-soaked signature.
One harsh blizzard, one secure cabin, eight nefarious characters and one tantalising mystery establishes The Hateful Eight’s premise. A story that feels like Cluedo-meets-12 Angry Men, The Hateful Eight is slow, assured and tense.
His slowest film to date; the narrative revolves around the questions of who is who and, more importantly, who is playing whom?
Eight diametrically opposing characters offer differing views of various topics such as politics, gun control, possession, wealth, greed, loyalty, race and religion; all making for magnificently engrossing scenes of nothing but talking heads – something that will no doubt test the patience of certain audiences.
What the supreme writing of Tarantino is able to achieve once again is an allegorical pulse throughout his dialogue that sparks thought and contemplation. In the case of The Hateful Eight, many of modern day America’s issues over race, religion and politics can be heard through the conversing of the characters occupying the post-civil war setting. This is one of the many factors that warrant multiple viewings – if you have another spare three hours that is.
It is imperative that fans of the theatre see The Hateful Eight in all its cinematic glory. Rarely does a film with so much potency and substance within every frame come along. A film where every character tells their significant story, even if they’re out of focus and in the back corner of the room, attention to detail is a quality the film both practices in its production and welcomes from the viewer.
For a film shot approximately 85% indoors, some could become confused as to the preference of the ultra wide 70mm Panavision format. Where the vast and sweeping landscapes are captured in all their cinematic glory (albeit sporadically), the 70mm imagery from within the claustrophobic confines of Minnie’s Haberdashery allow several characters to occupy the frame and present various subtle clues where other formats would be incapable without cutting to an obvious and comparatively ineffective close-up. This in turn allows the audience to understand every single character completely (or as completely as you may think after the first viewing). From there, one can marvel at the incredible talent on display as they converse and engage as friend, foe or none of the above.
As Samuel L. Jackson put it in the Q & A that followed this particular screening, the cast performed harmoniously like an acapella octet – every individual had their crucial part to play in order to make the end product complete. This camaraderie is not only evident on screen, but enveloping like that of a stage play. Everybody is visible and crucial at almost every stage of the film.
The omission of somebody in a scene is as important as the inclusion for this picture – Tarantino will be the first to remind you of that.
It will be exciting to see what the polarising-but-celebrated visionary produces next. What boundaries will he push in his rumoured penultimate picture? All that can be said at this stage is, The Hateful Eight was worth the wait.
It’s a true credit to the man as he shows us how important and powerful cinema is in its ability to galvanise hundreds of people to sit and, not just enjoy, but experience an art form the way it’s meant to be experienced.
A love letter to both the stage and screen, The Hateful Eight is a ride like noting else you’ll see for a very long time. We’ll be waiting on the edge of our seats to see what his ninth picture has in store.
If it were to be any longer than the already-interminable runtime of The Hateful Eight, a title such as The Narcoleptic Nine may be a fitting one…