THE HATEFUL EIGHT directed by Quentin Tarantino (USA, 2015)
Pretty well every Tarantino movie has been accused of being gratuitously violent. By now viewers should know that at some point there’ll be some splatter.
Get used to it or stay away, I say.
But his 8th movie is hateful for other reasons. I found certain scenes distasteful because the sadistic elements were so plainly included for shock value alone.
I’m thinking in particularly of the flashback scene [spoiler alert] near the end. Continue reading
Is there any point in a prison movie if no-one tries to escape? Probably not; which is why the climax of Steve Buscemi’s Animal Factory has a rookie prisoner making a bid for freedom in the back of a garbage truck.
This action gives the movie some semblance of a plot but narrative drive is not really its purpose. It works instead as a kind of dramatised documentary to expose what life in US prisons is really like. It is not a pretty sight.
The authentic quality comes from the fact that it is based on ex-con Edward Bunker’s real-life experiences behind bars. It is set in San Quentin and effectively lays to rest any woolly liberal notion that rehabilitation figures anywhere on the agenda.
Bunker somehow managed to leave his criminal past behind him and re-build a life as an actor and writer; he became Mr Blue in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. He is surely an exception as it’s hard to see how most people would be able to live normally after enduring a punishing prison regime in which buggery and thuggery are the norm. Continue reading