Wednesday, August 12, 2015

'The Hateful Eight' Trailer Promises Glorious Modern Quentin Tarantino and Some Classic Old-School Storytelling

I'll admit that I was completely and fully and inexcusably wrong. For a little while, The Hateful Eight was secretly the Quentin Tarantino picture that I had the least interest to see. It also needs to be established that Tarantino stands alongside Richard Linklater and Martin Scorsese as directors whose name attached to a project is enough to get me salivating. When the script for this picture was leaked online and Tarantino originally made the decision to opt for a live table reading rather than film it, I gave a sigh of relief. I was sure it would be irreverent and daring and one of the best movies of the year, but I wasn't all that eager for him to return to the Old West so soon.

Two major things that has made Tarantino become a brand name that can sell his movies on his own name is that one he perfected the act of pop culture infused, self-referential, fourth-wall breaking dialogue that seamlessly fits into an engrossing story with real stakes (something many other filmmakers have atrociously failed at trying to duplicate), and the second is that he has been able to maintain his distinct style while entering into a variety of genres. Django Unchained was not only my favourite Tarantino picture (or at least in a three-way tie with Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction) but what I deemed as the best movie of 2012. It also was clearly a Western and I felt done expertly enough that Tarantino should have been ready to move on.

Based on the trailer, it looks like I shortchanged an extremely tantalizing and unique feature. This sort of looks like a Reservoir Dogs mixed with Agatha's Christie's And Then There Were None thrown into the Old West. I'm guessing the majority of the movie will be confined to a closed room with eight untrustworthy and unsavoury types trying to manipulate and figure each other out. Most likely, will end up with bloody carnage and one or two people walking away alive right before the end credits. Tarantino has the writing chops to make for a really riveting, tight thriller set in one location that allows the secrets of each character to unravel. It is almost like his attempt to perfect what he tried back with Reservoir Dogs but on a bigger budget and with more working parts.

Or I could totally be misreading the fact that everything seems to be taking place in a cabin. The cast is marvelous with the usual Tarantino troopers like Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth (who looks to be having a blast with his over-the-top character), and Michael Madsen (whose main source of work seems to be Tarantino). I'm little bummed Christoph Waltz seems to have parted for the short term. I'm hoping that hole gets filled by a stellar performance from Jennifer Jason Leigh who always deserves more attention. Of course, you have Kurt Russell and his mustache, which are both glorious in this setting.

This has now flown right to the top of my most anticipated list. Sorry, Tarantino for doubting you.

 

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