THE HATEFUL EIGHT
(directed by Quentin Tarantino, 2015)
***+ (out of 5)
> The credits proudly proclaim this the eighth Quentin Tarantino flick, which begged the question: where does it fit in among the others?
. Though as profoundly entertaining as ever, this typically star-studded ensemble piece is only middling Tarantino- better than JACKIE BROWNE, not nearly in the same league as TRUE FICTION. The iconic director almost chucked this project, after the script was leaked online before he could put a production together. He relented after a public reading of the script that rekindled his enthusiasm. I wonder if Quentin would not have been better off pursuing another reinvention. THE HATEFUL EIGHT has its charms, but ultimately feels like a filmmaker treading water. Being the “difficult visionary” that he is, Quentin insisted the film be released in a 70mm roadshow version that necessitated a worldwide search for projectors that could still show this format. A large percentage of the projectors required complete refurbishing. All this drew attention to the release but was a major expense for the producers and a pain for the studio, contributing to the films tepid box office success.
. The cinematography by three-time Academy award winner Robert Richardson is first rate, and the Colorado mountain location informs every frame handsomely. As ever, there is lots of attention to detail here. I was happy to see Italian composer Ennio Morricone take home an Oscar for a score that elevated every shot it accompanied.
. As always, all the actors seemed to be having a blast, from a gruff Jeff Bridges to a righteous Samuel L. Jackson. Tim Roth had a romp as a sardonic dandy and Bruce Dern dug fiercely into the role of retired Confederate general. But no cast member seemed to be having more of a blast that Jennifer Jason Leigh, who was nominated for her lively turn as a viscous female killer being forcibly escorted to the gallows by a bounty hunter. And that’s something when it is the female cast members who get attention in a Tarantino film! Lots of fun tension between the characters here, as we discover their secret motivations and allegiances. Is there any doubt a bloodbath is coming?
. It’s a Tarantino film! Prepare for violence.
© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.