Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"The Hateful Eight" Trailer Shows Tarantino Prodding the Western Genre Back to Life

Samuel L. Jackson
It has been awhile since we last heard about director Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. While the film's production legacy has been long and storied, including rumors that Tarantino would ditch the project entirely, it has slowly been unraveling details that are sure to entice longtime fans of the director. For starters, there's the promise of an Ennio Morricone score and a run in 70 mm to look forward to. While we have seen pictures, there hasn't been any major marketing for the film... until today. They have just released the full length trailer for The Hateful Eight, which gives us our first glimpse into his latest western with an all star cast. And... it looks to be just as fun as you'd expect Tarantino's work to be.

While I generally respect Tarantino as a director, I have to come clean that his previous film Django Unchained is very flawed. I am not entirely sure what I think of it. Upon initial viewing, I found it pretentious and pandering to audiences who wanted a black hero that only was because the white people were idiots. However, through watching various clips on HBO in the past few years, I have come to appreciate it in sections. It is very flawed and arguably misses the editing skills of the deceased Sally Menke. However, it is an enjoyable romp where it works. 

Which is why I am a little hesitant going into The Hateful Eight. I am aware that not all directors make movies that click with audiences. Maybe this film will capture a more specific vibe of westerns that I like. Seeing as the director has always alluded to an interest in the genre, it is interesting to see his take on it. With the first trailer for his second Christmas film, I have to say that maybe I am on board once again, willing to see where the adventure will take us.

Check out the trailer below:

Looks really good. Here's the plot description according to IMDb:
In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?
Maybe The Hateful Eight will fall into a camp that Django Unchained didn't: simplicity. While the latter was a revenge story, its three hour journey did have a little wear and tear. Meanwhile, the former feels like it will be a more simpler execution with eight characters spending an evening together. I am not against this being three hours, but the material has to be there to warrant it. If anything, this already looks to be a vast improvement in cinematography over Django Unchained. The snow is beautiful and the cabin is rich with color.

It also gets me hyped up to learn more. What is Bruce Dern's deal? Why does Tim Roth's character feel like he's only there because Christoph Waltz was busy? I like Jennifer Jason Leigh's somewhat brutish mannerisms when she pretends to hang herself. Meanwhile, I think that the real highlight of the trailer is Tarantino's longest collaborator Samuel L. Jackson, who drops a great line about bullets halfway through. While we don't get a taste of the Morricone score, we do get a lot of other great things that at very least look like a more restrained and "professional" director. I'd say it even has a John Ford touch, but Tarantino notoriously hates the legendary director to the point of mocking him in Django Unchained

Either way, the promise of this film is too rich to not admit that I am very enthusiastic. Even if it is essentially a story that takes place over one evening in a cabin, I may find the director's work to be rather compelling. There's some action, but there isn't the spectacle that he usually throws into them. Instead, we get a few funny lines and plenty to chew on. This is what The Oscar Season needs and why the genre of westerns are not dead (Slow West is another good one from this year), but could use some friendly prodding.

1 comment:

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