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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | October 15, 2019

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Missing the mark of greatness: The Hateful Eight review

Missing the mark of greatness: The Hateful Eight review

| On 18, Jan 2016

The state of the union, through Tarantino’s lens.

It’s easy to pass on Tarantino’s films by saying they’re juvenile pieces of self-indulgent piracy, but that’s not quite accurate. He may indeed pilfer his characters, storylines and dialogue from other people’s work – but at least he always tries to elevate them to a new level of cultural significance. His latest effort, ‘The Hateful Eight’, very obviously checks all of the boxes it needs in order to be a Tarantino film – but falls short on a deeper meaning.

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The film follows the righteous bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) as he transports Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Liegh) through a blizzard to collect the bounty on her head. Along the way he picks up the suspicious Major Marquis Warren (Samuel Jackson) and the equally shifty Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) as the two are helplessly lost in the snowstorm. Together they wind up trapped at Miss Minnie’s Haberdashery with another four colourful characters, causing John Ruth to become paranoid that a plot is forming to free the villainous Daisy.

It’s not very hard to see that Tarantino was trying to make a comment on the state of American politics. Each character represents a different group in society. Russell plays the well meaning Liberal, Goggins is the sensible conservative and Jackson… black people. Far be it from me to expect Quentin Tarantino to have anything substantial to say about these characters, I did expect him to say something – anything. The problem is that each of the conflicts between these characters (or social groups) is resolved with extreme violence. Tarantino does very little in the way of using the central mystery to investigate how these personal conflicts could be diffused, or even attempt to showcase their absurdity.

‘The Hateful Eight’ is a brilliant film, but far weaker than Tarantino’s last effort – ‘Django Unchained’. It offers none of the resolutions that make his previous films so fantastic. ‘Django’ resolves his struggles with racism by determining his own destiny, no one in ‘The Hateful Eight’ resolves anything. The film ends with every single character no better than when we found them. For it’s credit, it is incredibly tense and will leave you holding your breath before the action sequences begin. It’s a really good film, but has sorely missed the mark that could have meant it would acheive greatness.

The Hateful Eight splatters into Australian Theatres January 21

Image Credits: Double Feature Films, FilmColony