Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Hateful Eight in Tarantino's Movieverse

Ever since the Vega Brothers turned up split between two Tarantino movies (Vic played by Madsen in Reservoir Dogs and Vincent played by Travolta in Pulp Fiction) I've been aware of the emerging Tarantino Universe.

The most obvious reference would probably be in the $5 milkshake scene in Pulp Fiction when Uma Thurman's character describes Fox Force Five (i.e. Kill Bill) to John Travolta's character. This was long before the Kill Bill movie was made, of course.

Tarantino indicates that The Hateful Eight is his eighth movie and indeed it is emblazoned across the start. In practice, there's a few more out there where he had a significant role such as True Romance or Natural Born Killers. I reckon the real-time chronology of their settings would be something like:
  1. Django Unchained
  2. The Hateful Eight
  3. From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter (DVD only)
  4. Inglorious Basterds
  5. Reservoir Dogs
  6. True Romance
  7. Natural Born Killers
  8. Four Rooms
  9. Jackie Brown
  10. Death Proof
  11. Planet Terror (kind of - e.g. the Missing Reel effect)
  12. From Dusk Till Dawn
  13. From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (DVD only)
  14. Curdled (a play)
  15. Pulp Fiction
  16. Kill Bill Volume 1
  17. Kill Bill Volume 2
Others have drawn complex diagrams showing the interdependencies between these movies in Tarantino's 'Realer than Real' Universe and the 'Movies Movie' Universe, which contains the kind of films his characters from Realer than Real would go to see.

For me it was the Ultra Panavision 70mm 2.76:1 version of this newest Tarantino movie. This was proper event cinema, an overture before the film, a popcorn intermission.

The outdoor scenes looked stunning on this ultra-wide format and when a large part played out inside Millie's Haberdashery (the stagecoach roadhouse) at times you could every nook and cranny of the room, which became useful for looking out for clues towards other activities.

I can't really talk about plot (which works on different levels) and being a Tarantino, there's some stark and flinch-inducing moments.

At a kind of deconstructed level there's a setup in the snowy wilds of Wyoming, and then an extended play-like format in the roadhouse, based around a series of deliberately archetypal western characters including bounty hunters, sheriffs and a hangman, still raw from the Civil War.

My first impression was of a somewhat slow-burn movie, but progressively the howling winds and snow and burrow into the subconscious.

As I became further immersed in this world I realised I'd got no clue about how things would turn out. Tarantino's pacing was like a Fibonacci spiral, cranking up as the movie progressed.

Sure, I could recognise some leading clues, but there was no way that I could have predicted what actually took place.

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