ByQuinton Ridley, writer at
i love movies

I am not a huge fan of Tarantino's style. He presents characters of very little virtue. We root for the protagonist not because they are unlike psychopaths or gangsters. We root for them because the antagonists are more evil. And the mild distinction hopefully awakens something about the human condition. Its usually a pretty lame theme like "honor among themes" or "deserved revenge". With The Hateful Eight, we get some more nasty characters being nasty, but it ends with the most satisfying ending (the most moral and quietly poetic, since Jackie Brown) to a film thats 100% Tarantino (if any of his unoriginal stories can be called his). I hold Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction to be his two best works, but he was heavily assisted in the script department on both by other better writers. So Hateful Eight is Tarantino's best script I would say so far.

My grievance is that there is very little new here. Tarantino has run out of ideas. He's simply redoing his favorite films while now redoing his own films. TH8 is a copy of Reservoir Dogs in its themes, minimalist production, ensemble acting, its plot structure. He's simply added the rustic visuals, offensive dialogue and cartoon gore of Django Unchained. While Django is superior entertainment and Reservoir is a much bolder stylistic statement, Hateful is much better storytelling. Tarantino finds a consistent and calm sense throughout the film, no doubt with the calm of aging. This is his most mature film since Pulp & Jackie. Its not cerebral or sociological or anything as great as those films. But H8 shows off his wisdom without too much of his silliness. Its classic Tarantino, only refined to the best and most basic ingredients.

There are moments where the typical Tarantino obsessions rear their ugly head and harm the work. His shameless love of women being violated, acting viciously and behaving childishly. A kind of pornographic use of the N-word and having black actors/characters take racist abuse from white characters/actors. And of course pain, suffering and shocking violence. He's still a very fucked up person and while all of this is woven into the narrative masterfully, its still a turn off to me. Its as if he frames each story around these exploitative elements like a sick, filthy, degenerate schlock film producer in the mid 1970s. I've always noticed that, no matter how gorgeously shot they are, his films always have a flat and bland visual texture. And watching TH8 I realized that it is the distinctive underproduced look of 70s TV. He's really a victim of bad 70s moviemaking and its damaged his creativity as much as it sparked it. I don't think we will ever see Tarantino do really solid, mature, profound work because he IS this man making grisly action cartoons for younger hipsters. Thats his role in early 21st Century filmmaking.

He will always be the weird video store clerk, recommending the most obscure and insane trash you don't really want to watch, while sneaking in a mildly interesting foreign film that is boring but kinda provocative. He's a real relic of the 1990s aesthetic of film viewing, but the novelty hasn't worn off yet.


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