Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Hateful Eight (4½ Stars)

In my review at the beginning of this year I said that this might be Quentin Tarantino's weakest film to date. After watching the film a second time I have to confirm it. This really is Quentin Tarantino's weakest film. Of course, this is a relative statement. His weakest film is still better than the best film of most other directors.

On the other hand, the cinematography in "The Hateful Eight" is superior to any of his previous films. I'd like to provide screenshots to back up this statement, but any pictures I show here are too small to give an adequate impression. You have to look at the film itself on a big screen, as large as possible. The beauty of the outdoor scenes is overwhelming. Even the indoor scenes are perfectly laid out like the paintings of a master artist.

Maybe the film's problem is that too much emphasis was made on the cinematography in its creation. The highly controversial choice was made to use Panavision 70mm film cameras to create larger panoramas. This format was fashionable for big budget productions in the 1960's, but it hasn't been used since 1970. As a result less work was put into the character development, which is outstanding in all of Quentin Tarantino's other films.

There is one plot error in the film. Maybe it's not an error, maybe it's deliberate, but it still disturbs me. Marquis Warren, the Bounty Hunter, boasts to everyone in the cabin that he humiliated Chester Smithers, the Confederate's son, by making him suck his penis. This is a terrible anachronism. It isn't a modern film, it's set in the 19th Century, probably the early 1870's. In those days homosexuality was considered to be something shameful. No man at that time would have described such sexual acts so freely. He would have been ashamed to tell people that he let another man suck his penis. In fact, other people might have been so disgusted that they would have shot him, especially a man from the Southern States like the Sheriff.

To prove that there's still justice in the world, Ennio Morricone won the Academy Award for the best film score. Why did he have to wait so long? He should have won an Oscar for "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966). He should have won an Oscar for "The Legend of 1900" (1998). There are probably other films with his music that are just as deserving. According to IMDB he's composed music for 564 films. His Academy Award was long overdue.

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