Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Jason Watches THE HATEFUL EIGHT

And I'll have to go back and watch it again in 70 mm sometime soon.

Anyway, Happy New Year! I spent my New Year's Eve with my brother, watching an evening screening of Tarantino's latest, to officially get my 365th movie of the year!

Short, short review: It's a Tarantino film.

Slightly longer, but still short review: The snowy white vistas demand to be seen in 70 mm, but it's an odd choice that so much of the movie is set in a single, claustrophobic room. Seems kind of a waste of the format (when I see it in 70 mm, I'll report back.) The plot is pretty simple: bounty hunters holed up in a cabin weathering a storm with a bunch of strangers. Sam Jackson is Major Marquis Warren, the bounty hunter who brings in dead bodies for rewards (the poster, after all, does say "dead or alive.") But Kurt Russell (doing his best John Wayne impersonation since BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA) is "the Hangman" John Ruth who brings in his bounties alive so they can be put on trial and get real justice. His bounty is Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who takes a terrific beating in the movie. But then again, so does everyone. In the cabin are Mexican Bob (Demi├ín Bichir,) a stylish English hangman (Tim Roth,) an old civil war general (Bruce Dern,) and a mysteriously quiet cowpoke (Michael Madsen.) And all suspicions are that someone is a plant, planning to free Daisy and kill John Ruth.

The big reveal of who the conspirator is...is kind of a cheat. But what interested me was the Tarantino level of violence. I expected the violence, of course, and I expected it to be over-the-top. But in his previous movies I always understood the point behind it. INGLORIOUS BASTERDS is a Jewish revenge fantasy--it's clearly okay to revel in violence against Nazis. DJANGO UNCHAINED is a slave revenge fantasy--it's clearly okay to revel in violence against slave owners. But here...as well made and beautifully photographed everything was, I had to think a while on what the point of all that violence was. And I'm glad I didn't write this up right away, because I probably would've left it at that. But on further contemplation, it's kind of obvious. The point is about the difference (or lack thereof) between "frontier" justice and "real" justice. And in some way that serves as a justification/defense for all the violence in all of Tarantino's films.

Running Time: 187 minutes
My Total Minutes: 413,454
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