Normally I only review reviews for movies I’ve seen, but I can make exceptions, too. Matt Zoller Seitz wrote a review of “The Hateful Eight” for Rogerebert.com. I won’t bother going into great detail regarding this review, except to note a few key things: Matt basically tells you everything that happens. If a character dies, he’ll tell you in this review. If there is violence against a character, he’ll tell you which one and how unnecessary it was. Gratefully, he puts a spoiler alert before he delves into specifics, but he’ll only tell you bad things about those specifics.
He’ll tell you that Quentin Tarantino is basically just trying to get away with depicting violence, and that this movie has no real story to it. That may be true, but I actually sort of doubt it. When I do watch this movie, I assume the reviewer will be wrong, because all other Tarantino films have faced that criticism from some, and with the standard tone of moral superiority. However, contrary to popular belief, Tarantino’s movies do have stories, at least as much as the average film of nearly any genre does.
Matt suggests that Quentin latches onto minorities — “underdogs” — just to justify making violent revenge movies. It is an interesting theory, and maybe it’s partly true, but Tarantino’s true crime is that his movies are a bit formulaic — nothing more, nothing less. That would be my biggest criticism of him. The whole “Quentin Tarantino makes disturbingly violent films” thing is a bit overstated, frankly. As anyone could easily note, violence has been depicted in movies and TV shows (and literature) constantly. It’s not that great of a critique.
I can understand the idea of wanting Tarantino to try something different, but that might be like asking day to be night. Forgive the dumb analogy but: Even if it’s dark out during the day, we can still identify it as day because of the time. Similarly, even if Tarantino made a less violent movie, we would probably be able to tell it was him, just by looking at the style. Certainly his movies are violent, but the style of his movies has always been more prominent to me. The violence is just one aspect of what he does. Some just recognize it more than others, just as some would be more offended by the violence in a Shakespearan tragedy — and we’re all supposed to love Bill Shakespeare
Matt Zoller Seitz does offer this nice little nugget, which is his creative attempt to summarize the movie:
“We’re just watching a bunch of scorpions in a bucket getting ready to sting each other, then stinging each other—sometimes verbally, sometimes with fists or guns or other weapons: tearing flesh, coating hardwood floors with gore and brains.”
Still, I would watch the movie before taking the review seriously. If you think the movies sucks, just skip out on the next Tarantino flick. There surely will be more, and more blood to mop up.