In a world of over the top green screen, computer generated everything, filled with fake sets, fake stunts, and even “faker” action scenes, YES I’m talking to you George Lucas and Michael Bay, thank you lord for Quentin Tarantino! A filmmaker who was raised, born and bred on the old-school ways of movie making. Back when you HAD to do it in front of the camera before people just said we’ll get the “computer guys” to fix it. And it’s welcome believe me and he comes back this Christmas with a western that’s more “Reservoir Dogs” than, well anything else since.
And believe me he’s pulling out all the stops, quick-witted dialogue, fast cutting fights, profane laced dialogue, and over-the-top non-stop bloodthirsty violence. Some could argue that he’s gone too far but COME ON it’s Quentin Tarantino, complaining about that is like going to see “Star Wars” and complaining about special effects. And it’s all done right in front of you as if he’s saying, “look Ma no computers!” And it’s welcome believe me. Basically the plot is this a bounty hunter named “The Hangman” (Kurt Russell) is taking in a female murder named “Daisy” (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to collect the bounty in the middle of blizzard in post-Civil War Wyoming. And do we meet some characters along the way…you bet! An ex-slave turned “Confederate Killer” (Samuel L. Jackson), a could be new sheriff and former Confederate officer (Walter Goggins), and then we have a nefarious Mexican (Demian Bichir), a bitter Civil War General (Bruce Dern), a British executioner (Tim Roth), a soft spoken & possibly dangerous cowboy (Michael Madson), and a angry-quick on the drawl coach driver (James Parks). They’re all killers, tough guys, and hombres that would love to shoot first ask questions later, but which is the good guy and which is the bad guy….well you’ll just have to see to find out.
Some could argue that the film is too long and too slow and unlike past Tarantino outings with all the oddball characters you could at least “like” the characters and their intentions. And if that is your complaint, well you’d be right. Some of the back-stories go on far too long and you just want him to get on with it and stop slowing down the pace. But again it IS called “The Hateful Eight” not “The Likeable Eight” and Tarantino wants to make sure we’re immersed in the world of westerns he grew up on the westerns of Howard Hawks and Sam Peckinpah. There you didn’t know the characters were good or bad it’s just whom you root for, or whom YOU should have rooted for in the end.
But in making sure the film never gets dull well credit needs to go to both Tarantino and his editor Fred Raskin (“Django Unchained,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) keeping up the pace and when the violence hits, and believe me IT WILL hit it’s done with an almost gleeful release (another Tarantino trademark). In a world where everything just seems fake and nothing is believable anymore, almost where everything is just done inside of a computer hard drive, thankfully there is Mr. Tarantino! A film lover’s prayer answered. And sadly it might not do 1% of what “The Force Awakens” might make in just a day of release, sad. Because as long as Tarantino is out there reminding us of what film really is, an art form NOT to just be done on a computer, a collaboration of many who work to give you something to see right in front of you then there is always going to be a reason to go to the movies! And God bless you Tarantino for it!
Written by Jason Greathouse