It took me awhile to begin this impressions piece, and I am still not sure it’s totally accurate. The nature of Tarantino films, means you need some time to digest the violence and process the piece, and that you might never be able to.
This movie was a film that took Tarantino time because of an early script leak that changed the nature of the film. It attempts to break new and old ground, taking some things Tarantino has already done and combining them in a world we’ve never seen from him.
In it’s most basic format it’s a western. Yet it’s different than even Jango, it takes on a sort of blend of John Wayne meets Alfred Hitchcock (meets of course Tarantino). The plot is John Ruth (Kurt Russel) is taking Daisy Domergue to Red Rock to hang. She has a large bounty on her head, and he is a hunter that always takes his people in alive. They are stopped by a storm and settled into a cabin where Ruth realizes that one, or all, of the people in the cabin with him are there to help Daisy escape. It gives a cast of terrible characters and lets nature take it’s course. Hateful is an apt name.
The film is ultimately supposed to be a mystery type setting where you work out who is the bad guy, but it’s muddled. Whether it’s muddled because of the early script leaks or Taratino’s lack of direction is unsure. At the end of the day the pay off is, lacking. That might seem like a pretty major spoiler, however the pay off is a small piece in a much larger puzzle, and it’s worth it.
While the pay off itself seems a bit forced and unimaginative, the build up to it is beautifully done. Taratino gets a great cast of characters and actors together, puts them in a small room, and it is just beautiful. Honestly I found myself not caring who was working with Daisy, and was just caught up in the story and build up.
Frankly by the big reveal I was less concerned with who dunnit and more concerned with wanting more. I wanted more moments with every single character in this film. In such a small cast it blows me away that it seemed almost too large because I didn’t get enough time with all the players.
Ultimately that is what this movie does so well, it’s a great character piece. Every character is interesting, dynamic, and well acted. Joe Gage is the most ignored character in the entire piece (in my opinion), and I don’t think anyone could forget him, that’s saying something. The setting, dialogue, and character development set this piece apart.
It blows up, as Taratino films are known to do, but manages to pace itself in a different way after it does. The intermission (given the right time in 70mm) is perfect in giving you a break, but then making you suffer for it with the violence and break down after.
The movie is horrible and beautiful. I’ve said this many times before with Tarantino films, and meant it in the best way every time.
As for the issue of 70mm, well I trust in directors when they say something was their vision. I tend to see something extra in directors cuts, and there are many reasons this movie was meant to be seen in 70mm. The pacing aside, the grandeur of the shots cannot be denied, something was captured on film that needs to be experienced that way.
Tarantino is also not shy about his political beliefs in this film, nor is he in real life. There is a clear underlying message he means to make. I wouldn’t call this a political film, but it’s a film with influence.
This move is not perfect. It makes a number of statements that are important, but has a problematic package. It has great characters with a plot that could be better. Ultimately though it’s a great film. The acting is perfect, the filming is beautiful, and while the plot suffers at some points it’s great in others. This film is not the greatest film you’ll ever see, but it might be the best you’ve seen in recent years. If you can sit back and appreciate it for what it is, you’ll realize it’s a lot.