12. The Hateful Eight (2015)

Quentin Tarantino simultaneously doesn’t give a fuck, and maybe also gives the absolute most fucks. Let me explain. With 2015’s The Hateful Eight Tarantino broke all of the rules and made a movie over 2 hours and 45 minutes western that by and large takes place within the confines of a small cabin, and furthermore he did it with a 70mm camera. Tarantino’s passion and deep adoration for film led him to resurrect the ultra-wide screen film camera and turn The Hateful Eight’s release into a true event. There was a roadshow component, an intermission, everyone in attendance was given an event program, an overture and a outro. This is whole movie is a love letter to the westerns of a bygone era, when these stories dominated the screens, 70mm was an accessible format, and going to see a film was in and of itself a big deal. Tarantino loves these things so much, he goes to painstaking lengths to bring them back to life. I remember going to see this on the roadshow with my Dad and my brother at the local AMC. To show the film in 70mm the way it was intended the theater had to actually do some light renovations to even be able to play the film. It was the kind of spectacle and theatergoing experience that you always dream of having, the audience was packed and the anticipation was killing everyone to see it. At the same time Tarantino loves to break the rules, he doesn’t care what they are, he wants to make something different. Which is why the use of the 70mm is often times simultaneously confusing and brilliant. For a film that is largely set inside of a house, the 70mm creates an ultra-claustrophobic and tense feeling of suspense. When the camera is used for exterior shots, the wide angle is used to its fullest capability, it is gorgeous and breathtaking. The camera and Ennio Morricone’s score (the first western movie he’d scored since 1981) were the true stars of the film, but the performances from Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins in particular are all top notch. The film definitely has two distinct halves and that can be very jarring, but I really think it enhances the story moves things along. The Hateful Eight is a largely misunderstood film. It’s also a movie unlike anything Tarantino had made up until that point, even fellow western Django Unchained doesn’t have much in common with it, but that just means that it’s another way that Tarantino breaks the rules, shows us his passions, and surprises us.

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