Unbirth of a Nation

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…or, “Bloodlust in the Dust.”

I didn’t stay past the Intermission for the 70mm Edition of The Hateful Eight, and with good reason, too. I went primarily out of curiosity, to see what all the hubbub was regarding a 70mm presentation and if the film was a definite awards contender.

To cut to the chase, Quentin Tarantino has proven himself to be far less than a film director — he’s this generation’s far more racist D.W. Griffith. The script is soused with the N-bomb, and just because Samuel L. Jackson’s character allows it doesn’t make it any better, nor does its use make Tarantino a grittier, “realistic” auteur. At one point, Jackson’s character takes great delight in telling a Confederate general of the vulgar way he killed his son (and forced him to perform fellatio), all while the Christmas carol “Silent Night” plays on an out-of-tune piano in the background. It may seem satisfying to some, seeing a post-civil war black man enacting vengeance, but the fact is that racism is racism any way it is performed; I don’t care who got hurt first, and also, you must surely admit that playing “Silent Night” while the audience bears witness to murder and oral sex is tasteless as can be.

Tarantino doesn’t even make use of the 70mm format. By his own admission, he was inspired to shoot the film in 70mm when he saw the chariot race in Ben-Hur, but there is no sequence tantamount in majesty to that; there isn’t a single added benefit to seeing it in its roadshow release beyond the fact that you get to use the bathroom after two hours.

From a director who decries cops as murderers, I think Tarantino should take a good look in the mirror, because with a film like this under his belt, he is bad as the men and women he vilifies. Skip it.

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