Movies

The Wasteful Eight (Review)

Quentin Tarantino’s latest, The Hateful Eight, baffles me.

I don’t understand how the same person who created compelling dialogue, inventive plots, and delightful characters in several other of his works, could have made this very expensive B movie. But then, as I consider this statement I realize that all his movies are simply B movies that graduate as part of some clever reconstruction. To his credit, he made some memorable films with his “mosaic” style. He assembled, arranged, and remanufactured the most potent, quirkiest, and fun (for him certainly) outtakes from B movies–often diverse genres of them at that–such that the resulting composition held together. But since Inglourious Basterds, which featured several exceptional acting segments, he has been mixing his plots with revisionist racial and ethnic revenge motifs. The tension he creates in summoning these horrors and ghosts to the screen is not worth whatever temporary satisfaction or justice he hopes to generate by annihilating them. Apparently he was not a big enough fan of ghost movies and hasn’t considered the nature of ghosts: they cannot be annihilated; they can only be “released” from their curse by satisfying the cause of their doom in the first place.

Besides, the notable lack of A-list actors is probably a hint that the script was weak in the first place. I waited an hour for a compelling scene or verbal exchange. Then another hour.

It never came.

He tried to simultaneously create a who-done-it, frame it inside a western, and a drench it in a retribution-for-slavery campaign. Whoa there, Boy. That’s no movie; it’s a runaway stage!

stagecoach-157449__340Samuel L. Jackson may get some award notice for being the same charismatic character in yet another setting, and the others worked with what they were handed (nothing much). And I was surprised that Kurt Russell was not as good in this as he was in a similar role for the poorly received frontier film Bone Arrow that was released to RedBox last month.

There were some shots and scenes that did well to transport the viewer to the bleak and merciless frontier; and costumes, props were all first-rate. That he shot the film in 70mm is impressive, though making something bigger and clearer when it doesn’t work isn’t very helpful.

But the fact is, Tarantino just emptied his gun and missed all the bad guys.

WH

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2 Comments

  1. January 6, 2016 at 11:04 pm — Reply

    Bill, very well done!! I agree with much regarding the Hateful Eight. My issue was more how the plot unfolded. I thought there was some great movie making aspects to the film, but a good movie for me always comes down to the story and the quality of the acting. Since the latter was quite good in my opinion, the main issue is ultimately the story itself. Tarantino lost his way a bit in this movie. Let’s hope he gets in touch with his wonderful talent for #9. Cheers, Mike

    • William Hecht
      January 7, 2016 at 9:04 am — Reply

      Hi, Mike.

      Good input: Thanks. I think Tarantino felt as if he had succeeded before in a more dramatic “mystery” setting in Reservoir Dogs, but it didn’t translate. Two of his “go-to” actors from that, Madsen and Roth, did not get much chance to shine in this film–too bad. Because QT had so many themes moving in this, it would take a “plotopsy” to figure out what went wrong (laugh).

      Good to have you in on the blog!

      Best to the Family,

      Bill

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