A frus­trat­ing stand-off

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS - Leigh Paatsch


Di­rec­tor : Quentin Tarantino (Django Un­chained) Star­ring : Sa­muel L. Jack­son, Jen­nifer Ja­son Leigh, Kurt Rus­sell, Tim Roth, Michael Mad­sen, Chan­ning Ta­tum, Wal­ton Gog­gins. Ver­dict: A big pic­ture lack­ing a lit­tle some­thing

YOU should know by now whether you carry the Quentin Tarantino movie gene.

If the likes of Pulp Fic­tion or Django Un­chained left you cold, then noth­ing will warm you to The Hate­ful Eight.

How­ever, even if you are a fully paid-up Tarantino tragic, his lat­est work de­mands you cough up some­thing ex­tra to ex­tract full value from the ex­pe­ri­ence.

This time around, you had bet­ter bring along all the pa­tience you can muster – and per­haps some for­give­ness as well – or The Hate­ful Eight will not meet your height­ened hopes.

Though car­ry­ing all the hall­marks of a ma­jor-event re­lease, this is very much a mi­nor en­try in Tarantino’s im­pres­sive ca­reer to date.

More of a Death Proof or Jackie Brown than a Reser­voir Dogs or In­glou­ri­ous Bas­terds.

The story takes place sev­eral years af­ter the close of the Civil War, on a moun­tain pass in re­mote re­gion of Wy­oming.

It is here we find Daisy Domer­gue (Jen­nifer Ja­son Leigh), a fer­al­look­ing woman chained to the wrist of badass bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Rus­sell).

Daisy has a five-fig­ure price on her head, and a com­ing ap­point­ment with the hang­man once her cap­tor can haul her back to civil­i­sa­tion.

How­ever, with the al­ready-win­try weather about to turn sav­age, the pair must take cover with some fel­low trav­ellers (in­clud­ing Sa­muel L. Jack­son as an­other bounty hunter with his own col­lec­tion of crim­i­nal car­casses to cash-in) at a coach stop called Min­nie’s Hab­er­dash­ery.

Al­most ev­ery­one cooped up at Min­nie’s is fa­mil­iar with each other: ei­ther by rep­u­ta­tion (Daisy has con­nec­tions to an in­fa­mous gang) or in­cli­na­tion (just one look at char­ac­ters played by the likes of Tim Roth and Michael Mad­sen screams “no-good sum-bitches”).

What fol­lows in The Hate­ful Eight is a talky bat­tle of wits, in­ter­spersed with bursts of blood­let­ting that would make a se­rial killer blush. The over­all ef­fect is never less than en­ter­tain­ing, but never quite as en­er­gised or es­sen­tial as Tarantino’s finest works.

If there is an ele­phant in the room re­gard­ing The Hate­ful Eight, it is de­ter­min­ing why the film­maker has cho­sen to stage so much of it in a sin­gle room.

Re­mem­ber, Tarantino has been kick­ing up a ma­jor fuss ev­ery­where about preserving the virtues of tra­di­tional widescreen cinema for gen­er­a­tions to come.

How­ever, for all his talk of a re­turn to an ana­log artistry that has dis­ap­peared with the ad­vent of all-dig­i­tal cam­era and pro­jec­tion sys­tems, there can be no ig­nor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of­fered by an ex­panded frame are largely wasted here.

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