January 26th, 2021

Whiskers, Twinkles And Unspeakable Acts

I've filled up a couple of recent evenings with ultra-violent westerns. I wasn't sure I'd like them but my son said I would and he was right. Bone Tomahawk is school of Tarentino and The Hateful Eight is by the man himself- and both feature a spectacularly bewhiskered Kurt Russell. Russell is an actor who has come into his own as he aged- morphing from B-list action hero to something like a regular, movie-anchoring film star- only with whiskers. The whiskers are tremendous.

In real life I'm squeamish, but body horror in the movies doesn't faze me. I can view faces being blown off with equanimity. I think it's because I admire the craft involved. Instead of going "Oh my God!" I go "Now how exactly did they manage that?"

Tarentino, whether you like his attitude or not, is one of the masters of cinema. The Hateful Eight- a movie that switches genres twice or thrice in its three hour running time- could have been a frightful mess- but isn't- mainly because Tarentino knows exactly what he's doing. He takes terrible risks- and gets away with them- including having his characters say things that- if casually tweeted- would sink a less-well founded career to the bottom of the deep blue sea. All his characters are hateful, but ever so colourful- and Samuel L Jackson- in particular- playing Lee Van Cleef plus twinkles- does any number of unspeakable things without ever forfeiting our regard.