Last week strangely the 3 films I saw in the cinema were as the title says, snow capers. Not out of design but strange coincidence. I didn’t even know one of the films was being shown until I was sat in the cinema. Perfect timing for our own ‘snowy’ weather. The roof tops were white for a day at least…Strangely two of the films had musical overtures to begin the film and then intervals in the middle(ish), yet they were released 50 years apart, one being released this month. Hopefully more films might pick up on this grand presentation of films and make the cinema more of an event. I doubt they will but it definitely adds to the experience.
The first film of the week was the wonderfully Tarantino The Hateful Eight. The 70mm Roadshow version no less. The way Tarantino meant for people to see it. With very few cinemas in the UK showing it at all at initial release let alone the Roadshow version, I went to the Odeon Leicester Square. It’s a great cinema apart from the fact 3 of the 4 normal toilets were for men (one womens had been converted with a small sign to a men’s sign, which I guessed was because they assumed more men would go to the film?? sexist or what). The seats are excellent,the only cinema I know to have animal print seats.
On entering the Odeon there were film programmes laid out on a little side table. Each booklet filled with info and stories about the shoot and a few beautiful on set photographs. I love that Quentin Tarantino thinks of all the little details with his films. He doesn’t just make a film to make a film. Each should be a unique experience in itself. And now he can basically do what he wants he is actually giving back more to the audience. The Hateful Eight is his first of hopefully many Roadshow releases. With a nod to the films of the ’50s and ’60s presentation style he really captures that atmosphere. Firstly of course shot on film (65mm), using the same lenses used to shoot some of Ben-Hur.
Then to the presentation. Firstly you get your film programme, then the film is projected in 70mm for a stunning absolute widescreen aspect ration. Next the Musical Overture, the intermission and the fact that it is a special ‘roadshow’ extended version.
When the film first began with its Musical Overture, which was really cool, I have to admit I wondered how much Tarantino had indulged himself. The overture complimented the film though and even his voice-over reminding us of what happened before the intermission worked.Now to the actual film. Of course with any Tarantino you can expect the characters to be excellently written. I had spoken to a friend before the film and she pointed out there was only one female in the titular characters and she was a prisoner. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I first saw the posters and as she said there was only one female. However I know Tarantino writes the best female characters. And I wasn’t let down. Daisy Domergue was for me the most underrated character, which worked in her favour. She was a prisoner and female but neither of these defined her. In fact none of the characters sexes really mattered. It just so happened that Daisy was female.
On the surface she is a repulsive, disgusting, feral low-life prisoner. She is all of these things (which somehow has a slight charm) but also so much more. She acts the fool until the very last chapter. It’s here that we realise the entire time her cogs have been whirring and she is in fact extremely intelligent. The most intelligent of all the characters. This doesn’t mean that she deserves to be saved by Tarantino in the finale or that she will.
In fact none of them truly deserves to survive. They are after all called ‘The Hateful Eight’. The only people who deserve to survive are the ones killed off at the beginning. I guess the least interesting characters have to go.
I found this film to be one of Tarantino’s most involving. Throughout it kept us guessing not only as to the conclusion but to the intro. What the hell had actually happened before all of the Eight turned up. And then the caper continued as we wondered who put the poison in the tea? Who is working to free Daisy? Who is telling the truth? Is anyone telling the truth? It’s more of a detective crime caper than a Western. It just happened to be set after the civil war with all the mise-en-scene of any great Western. Plus snow.
No-one can be trusted. No-one is fully evil or truthful. You almost just have to let it play itself out.
As with any Tarantino there are so many layers which are accentuated with the non-linear narrative. We wait a long time for it but it is worth it. Not only is the pay off the crime being solved but also the non-linear flash back which the audience loves Tarantino for. I am looking forward to seeing it again (hopefully the Roadshow version again). One friend I went with said ‘there’s not much more to see now’ but I completely disagree. Now we know what happens and who is and will be responsible for certain actions from the beginning the film is turned on its head.
It is almost a different film if that is possible. When we first watch it we are in the same position as the second coach of eighters. Unknowing what has happened before we arrived to Minnie’s Haberdashery. The second time we will feel more connected to the first eighters to arrive as like them we know what has gone and will go down.So those are my brief first thoughts of Quentin Tarantino’s (hateful) eighth film. I’ve read some negative views on the film so when I review it later on I will be addressing the hateful audiences. I absolutely loved it though and can’t wait to watch it again in 70mm. My next blog will be on my second snowy caper of the week: The Revenant.