The Hateful Eight – Tarantino’s 8th Film

Who is Quentin Tarantino? A historian in his own mind? A whiz kid who steals from every movie ever made? A blood soaked writer with the heart of Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah? A flamboyant extravagant wannabe “Master of Cinema” who is trying to shoot his every film in 70MM Ultra Panavision? Who is this achingly satirical storyteller wanting to top your expectations and blow you away? Let’s get the answers directly from the man himself:

“When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.’ I just grew up watching a lot of movies. I’m attracted to this genre and that genre, this type of story and that type of story. As I watch movies I make some version of it in my head that isn’t quite what I’m seeing – taking the things I like and mixing them with stuff I’ve never seen before. If I wasn’t a film-maker, I’d be a film critic. It’s the only thing I’d be qualified to do. If I really considered myself a writer, I wouldn’t be writing screenplays. I’d be writing novels. Novelists have always had complete freedom to pretty much tell their story any way they saw fit. And that’s what I’m trying to do.”

The Hateful Eight (2015) is the 8th Quentin Tarantino film. It’s a blood-bathed story of 8 nefarious characters, seeking refuge from a blizzard, who uncannily got  stuck together in a stagecoach stopover named “Minnie’s Haberdashery”. Eerie, huh? Moreover, this twisted story is set just after the American Civil War and by god golly, the War didn’t end at all though the history claimed it did – the War still stinks.

Under this periodical context and narrative outline of western genre, Quentin Tarantino, with his collaborators, presents us a bluish snowy tensed parlor-room epic which asks questions about racism, justice, humanity, ethics and the all-encompassing human existence. Tarantino does it like a pulp novelist, which he always was, and shoots it in the virtue of Spaghetti Western and glorify the panoramic aspect of movie-making with famous cinematographer Robert Richardson.

As a pure visual cinematic achievement, this piece of film is gonna last. But it would be pretty wise to remark that it is not one of Ennio Morricone’s best musical works. The maestro had more monumental and paramount work in his vast career, for instance The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), ‘The Battle of Algiers and Once Upon a Time in the West but, when it comes to music in Tarantino films, it never fails to stun you. The Hateful Eight lacked moments like “Bullwinkle” part from Pulp Fiction, “Cat People” from Inglorious Bastards or “The Lonely Shepherd” from Kill Bill. Instead of breathtaking musical score, it has effective sound effects with point sharp Foley sound and it works.

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As Tarantino tries to tell it like a chaptered novel, finding who is who and who is what becomes an engaging game and a sinister one while devouring this film. In general, The Hateful Eight runs 167 minutes, which is quite slow paced in this age of fast-cutting films. But a true cinephile will never be disheartened or distracted in a cinema as long as the movie contains revealing points like a novel, poetic grandeur and cinematic pleasure in witty monologues, sharp dialogues and dimensional characters, and boy you are going to watch the characters thoroughly, I can tell you that; they have their curvy past and they are going to show you how cruelly they can be perfect badasses. They are made of human flesh but with the soul of a beast.

Violence has always been a tool, for filmmakers like Tarantino and his predecessors, to present the story artistically and represent the history in a cynic way. But in The Hateful Eight, violence meets poetic justice. When Major Marquis get shot in his “Black Johnson” or “Daisy Domergue” gets hanged, they get poetic justice. The same goes for almost every major character, even though bloodshed is not the cup of a tea for a rigid and snobbish so called “artsy” moviegoer. Throughout the film, Tarantino executes revealing, paranoid, cold-blooded, often mockingly comical and astoundingly satirical moments. They will be remembered and analysed in the future days as they are purely “Tarantinoesque” in spirit and referential to the history of cinema and that has always been a benchmark for Tarantino – he went to films and he knows what Cinema is.

The Hateful Eight may not be as entertaining as Pulp Fiction or as solid as Inglorious Bastards but it’s a worthy cinematic experience and a must-watch  for any cinephile who cares about Auteurs and the very medium of cinema itself. It is The Hateful Eight: The 8th film by Quentin Tarantino.

Au revoir Cinephile!
Long Live Cinemagic!