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The Hateful Eight Review: ‘Tis the Season for Violence!

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hate8The Hateful Eight

 

Written and directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Channing Tatum, Demian Bichir, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, and James Park
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Run time: 187 minutes (three hours and seven minutes) for the roadshow version

In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?*

There are a couple different cuts touring around of this film. The roadshow version includes an overture at the beginning and an intermission in the middle, which was nice to have. There’s a version with all that cut out (168 minutes), and a digital version (167 minutes) that’s the same as the non-roadshow version. The one less minute is due to a faster frame rate. Do yourself a favor and see the roadshow version in stunning 70mm anamorphic Panavision.

Opening in select theaters on Christmas day, and on a 70mm print. I can’t think of a better way to avoid socializing with your family than to spend over three hours in a theater watching an ultra-violent film that somehow manages to make art out of extremely racist, sexist, and problematic content. If this movie wasn’t so good “social justice warriors” would already be all over it. Not that I’d blame them. Sitting in a theater of people that erupt into laughter every time a man hits a defenseless (handcuffed, and at gunpoint) woman, and calls her a dumb bitch is a bit disconcerting. Alas, this movie is good, and made by a great director so I doubt it’ll receive much public scrutiny.

So despite having problematic contact what makes this movie so good? Tarantino has a knack for evoking emotional responses that may seem contrary to one’s typical behavior. In place of typical hero roles he has realistic and relatable anti-heroes. Altruism is common only in stories and movies. This emotional response coupled with the fact that this extremely long movie never loses pace is what makes it so good. At no point did I feel bored, or have the urge to leave.

The soundtrack for this movie will win many awards, and hopefully an Oscar. Morricone utilized unused music from his score for John Carpenter’s the thing, and it’s absolutely brilliant. Half of this movie’s greatness comes from Morricone’s score, and is easily the best to come out this decade. Additionally to Morricone’s work Tarantino included a song from the Last House on the Left (1972) soundtrack. The song which was written and recorded by David Alexander Hess (the villain of the film) is called “Now You’re All Alone.” It is one of my favorite songs, and manages to nearly bring me to tears while watching either film.

I do need to state the the last few films Tarantino has made have been pure cinematic masturbation. His movies are starting to feel like three hour long Eddie Van Halen guitar solos. Yes they’re technically impressive, but what makes it special when consumes the content?  If there was ever an argument for studio cuts of films the last three Tarantino films would be it.

An “important” debate stemming from this movie seems to be where it ranks is in Tarantino’s catalog of movies. I put the Hateful Eight somewhere above Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds, and somewhere below Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Landing itself somewhere right in the middle, and since this is Tarantino, being in the middle is still pretty damn good.

 

 

*Official synopsis courtesy of The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films

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