Hateful Eight: A Revitalization of the Western

While incredibly polarizing, Tarantino has become a mainstay in the American film industry with his varied contributions such as “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Kill Bill” Vol. 1 and Vol .2, and “Django Unchained.” This past Christmas, Tarantino added another masterpiece to his repertoire of gritty action films with “The Hateful Eight.”

Returning to work with Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Michael Masden all carried brilliant performances.

Overall, “The Hateful Eight” was particularly masterful in its presentation of story, setting, characters, and costumes, which almost made up for the gratuitous use of the N-word, almost. The film has won an incredible 22 awards already, and has been nominated for a total of 67 awards, including three Academy Awards: Actress in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, and Original Score.

There is something even more magnificent about this film, however. Aside from its method of illustrious story-telling, Tarantino has done something that has escaped the mode of several decades of film production; he has brought back the Western genre in full effect.

Although his films typically have some elements categorically belonging to the Western film genre, such as themes of revenge, honor, and the deliverance of justice through vigilantism or cold vengeance, no Tarantino film has wholly been devoted to celebrating and revitalizing the Western genre.

While “Kill Bill” uses several of the aforementioned themes, it does not truly embody the Western genre. Instead, it uses the vehicle of storytelling that is typical of the genre and subsequently makes it its own. The same can be said for “Django Unchained,” which uses the American South as its setting, and diverges into the genre of Blaxploitation and slave narrative.

With “The Hateful Eight,” we see a more developed effort to bring back the Western genre with allusions to the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone. But this is no spaghetti Western. With deliberate references to American race relations, Tarantino has made a timely modern film that deserves all of the attention it is receiving.