My official last review of the year 2015 comes in 2016, I didn’t get to see until yesterday in a double feature starting with that and finishing with Star Wars The Force Awakens again. Yes, a third time seeing that. I have to admit some irritation that some markets got this particular film on Christmas Eve and Tucson didn’t get it until New Years Eve. I understand that he also filmed this in classic 70mm which for the true film buffs is an awesome thing. Sadly my viewing was in standard digital format.
But should you see it in any format?
Quentin Tarantino has been hit or miss for me on his movies and my overall appreciation of them since the beginning. I missed Reservoir Dogs on its first outing and have since seen and loved it. Pulp Fiction I fell asleep during the first two times I watched it at the theatre in Towson; though to be fair they were both midnight screenings after long days. I have come to appreciate it since. Kill Bill Vol 1 amazing slice of flashback Kung Fu theatre. Kill Bill vol 2 was ok after that with the superman speech being kind of fantastic. Inglorious Basterds was incredible and Django was…ok.
No one can argue that he is an unconventional director that has brought and/or revitalized certain styles of film making back into popularity with only his compatriot Robert Rodriguez able to truly ape the style with any particular success. I had the realization during the Kill Bill saga, that what Tarantino writes is the internal monologues we all go through during conversations, but he allows them to be external dialogues with the appropriate reactions to them. No one and I mean no one in my life talks like they do in a Tarantino film – aside from those actively trying to be Tarantino esque. In addition the concept of non linear storytelling has become his bread and butter that we have come to expect and appreciate.
I go through this explanation of that which is Tarantino and what I see, understand, and appreciate from him to say that in this case he failed miserably. The dialogue is atrocious, none of the characters are likable or even remotely charismatic while being prats. Tarantino has reached full parody of himself in this film and it seems both intentional and ignorant of this change. He has become the child who has learned a bad word and uses it repeatedly to the point of discomfort and making it a punchline. He is trying to make a word ok while being as offensive as possible about it and it just is not working. Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you should.
None of the dialogue in this film worked for me in any real way shape or form. This isn’t to say the actors didn’t do well. We all know these are well trained, gifted actors, who turn in remarkable performances otherwise. So with that in mind everyone performed well with the role they were given and direction they were given. No one stood out, no one fell behind, even Michael Madsen – who looked surprisingly aware of his surroundings in this one. The violence was well violent but not necessarily more or less graphic than Kill Bill or Inglorious Basterds was. Perhaps I am desensitized or just perhaps he didn’t quite hit the mark of over the top he was shooting for. It was bloody but kinda meh on the amount? There is supposed to be suspense in the film and there isn’t. There’s supposed to be a mystery and there isn’t. It just does not work for me.
All of that said, the movie SOUNDS and LOOKS amazing. This is some of Tarantino’s best cinematography to date. He really captured the Spaghetti western style of film making he was going for with gorgeous wide shots and intense tight shots of the cast that worked with the ensemble. Even within that he doesn’t always frame shots for the best impact against the type of ensemble he is shooting. Musically of course he made the brilliant choice to use Ennio Morricone as his composer.
I am the contrary opinion. I do not like this movie. I do not recommend it. I did not find it enjoyable.
From a film making standpoint the movie is well done. It could be analyzed on MUTE from any film making class. The moment you add dialogue…the movie fails horrifically.
If you enjoy this movie I am glad. I am curious for those who read my reviews and liked it, if you sound off to why. I want to see what I missed.