Hateful Eight - Spoilers
Please Note: This is not a review. These are just my thoughts after my first viewing of the film.
1) Both a step forward and a step backward
A step forward in pushing the celluloid medium. But was the medium used to its full potential?
What happens to a storyteller and artist when they have to seek out the environments for their films rather than spontaneously generate them?
That opening shot was superlative. It captured everything that matters to a none digital filmmaker. It was a big expansive beautiful shot that the filmmakers had to wait for. It was an example of a fleeting sort of movie magic. Not the kind where you create spectacular worlds within a computer, but when you capture the magic moments of a real landscape onto celluloid.
I just wish that the 70mm felt as necessary of as exquisite with the studio shots indoors. If you remove the environmental establishing shots, was the 70mm necessary? Was it something that kindled passion for the celluloid medium in the way that Tarantino and others have so demonstratively advocated? It does make me wonder and wish that some of that amazing fight choreography in Kill Bill had been shot on 70mm (Wouldn't that be something to really move the medium a step forward...Please Quentin make something like that happen).
A step backward as a story teller?
However from a pure narrative point of view, I think this story attempts way less than Tarantino has attempted with his past two films, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained. It may be in there and I just won't glean it until a second or third viewing. But this was the first film of Tarantino's where I wasn't energized and enthralled by the end of it. I wasn't hungry for a second viewing. Where as I always understood the "why" of the violence in the other two films, I am still hunting for the "why" of this film.
Why is the Hangman so determined to watch his bounties hang?
Given the powerlessness of the Confederate General, why was Samuel so insistent to tempt him into dueling and upsetting the balance within what was already a very precarious environment?
Also, I want there to be something meaningful in that Walton Goggins and Samuel L's characters are the remaining two, but it doesn't feel truly earned to me given the huge political and racial obstacles of their backstories.
I don't know that I need a moral to the violence. But this film seems to aim for something more than "bad shit begets tons of violence". I know that an artist's ambitions for meaning don't have to follow a specific trajectory. But, I long for work from my favorite directors that has higher ambition than this film seems to have. Tarantino's ambitions for the last 4 films was huge. Given that, this film feels like a step backward.