You go to a Quentin Tarantino movie expecting the unexpected and certain to witness a bloodbath. That’s part of Quentin’s cinematographic aesthetics. In “The Hateful Eight,” his eighth movie, there is a clear undercurrent of racial abhorrence. Nevertheless, the director is clearly aligned with those who defend the rights of black people. While the movie was getting its last touches, Quentin attended a black lives matter rally and declared: “I’m a human being with a conscience. And when I see murder, I cannot stand by. I have to call the murderers the murderers.”
There are untold murders in his movies, most of them motivated by unclear causes. But Tarantino is a movie artist and has developed his own aesthetic system. Guns are always on the point of firing bullets and blood is sure to flow. That’s part of his film world.
In “The Hateful Eight” there are no good guys, not even the lone black man—although he does have a letter from President Abraham Lincoln, which is a key to his survival in an environment filled with racial slurs and disrespect.
The cast has obviously been extremely carefully chosen, from vets like Russel, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Dern and regulars such as Michael Madsen and Tim Roth…and the Oscar nominated Jennifer Jason Leigh, as the slobbering assassin being taken in for hanging.
The plot? As devious as most of the characters in this strange western that takes place in the midst of a snow storm in Wyoming. Clues are dished out in the midst of stinging monologues, violent quips, poetic nonsense and an air of mystery that keeps tension high until the end.
The movie will certainly bring glee to Tarantino’s hard core fans, and cries of disgust from those who see it as an apology to violence. (The scene where numerous characters have been poisoned and spit up generous quantities of red-red blood is certainly repulsive but is within the director’s cinematographic philosophy.