Tuesday, 22 December 2015

REVIEW - THE HATEFUL EIGHT (QUENTIN TARANTINO)


The vapid stylings of a filmmaker who emerged from the ego of another filmmaker, running on creative supplies in dwindling quantities. Gone is the era when Quentin Tarantino permitted his produce to acquire its cultural status over time; now, he insists on the quick fix method of myth-making, filling his films with his own hype that it might fizzle fast enough for a momentary high before fizzling out. Between these bursts of inspiration - no longer his own, but derived from the works of better filmmakers, or at least those who knew how to use it - The Hateful Eight just sits there, its elaborate dialogue droning ever on, never even threatening to lead anywhere. This is a painfully slow film, not nearly as enlivened by its stylisations as it would like. Yet it's a fine piece of work, as all that inspiration (and money) necessitates: Robert Richardson's photography looks sumptuous, and the soundtrack is given the boldest burst of colour among The Hateful Eight's reds and yellows - Ennio Morricone's invaluable score. Is it this high quality on offer that draws such unflattering focus upon Tarantino's failings? Or is it the quality that he provides himself, showing great flair for shot composition and indulging in his trademark cutting comedy? Too little of the latter, as each successful zinger is grossly outnumbered by unsuccessful ones, largely characterised by breathtaking intolerance. The film is neither a portrait of history nor of fantasy, but of its filmmaker's twisted mind, one in which the occasional sympathetic black character is licence for countless utterances of 'nigger', and in which the lone leading female is punched in the face more often than called by her own name. The Hateful Eight puts it all into perspective: Quentin Tarantino sees women as fetish objects and/or bitches, no more. He's a great filmmaker, waylaid by his own perception of that greatness, let down by his new editor, and ruined by his moral compass.