For Reel

The Hateful Eight (2015)
January 12, 2016, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Quentin Tarantino
4 Stars
The Hateful EightQuentin Tarantino’s recent streak of historical revisionist entertainments has transformed the cinephile auteur into a hugely political filmmaker. His predilection towards violence has manifested in spectacles of bloodshed that now are filtered through a certain morality–if the climactic violence in Kill Bill: Volume 1 plays as little more than an exercise in style and pastiche, the killings that take place in The Hateful Eight betray notions of heroism. In the final moments, an act of violence is met with laughter, the camera’s rising perspective seeming to lift a body like a flag. With one image, Tarantino dispels ideas of justice, turning the American ideal into one of violence in the support of futile principles. The ugliness in the film is difficult to wrestle with–Tarantino’s habitual use of the n-word perhaps crescendos with this film, and just as alarming is the punching bag that Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue becomes. Surrounding characters are defined by their relationships to Domergue and Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), both in their sympathy to the causes of these central figures and more often in their incredible distaste for them. Tarantino is not one to offer simple answers–his way of confronting race is often to revel knee-deep in the muck of racism, just as his perspective towards misogyny insists upon characters like Domergue. If the film’s political conscious is perhaps not quite as well-mined as Inglorious Basterds or Django Unchained, it similarly succeeds as an entertainment–described as an Agatha Christie Western, Tarantino excels in developing the various tensions, realizing Minnie’s Haberdashery as both the scene of the crime and a battlefield.

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