Is frontier justice truly justice? I’m not sure, since that was long before my time. I’m also not sure exactly what I thought about this one, other than the fact that Tarantino is an undeniably impressive filmmaker.
It’s one thing to ask an audience to sit through a three hour movie of almost all dialogue. It’s another thing to present the lion’s share of that film in one room. It’s still another to shoot it in 70mm. And yet, somehow, it all works, which is a massive testament to what Tarantino can do behind the camera. The room isn’t huge and the sense if tension help it shrink ever smaller, yet the lens is able to present it as something larger than itself. The setting is a character. Yes, I know that’s a cliche.
I was having some real issues with the convenience of the script and the way the characters came together and relates to each other, but at the same time I knew it was superficial and that Tarantino had something else up his sleeve. Sure enough, he did, but I couldn’t quite get past how unbelievable parts of the setup were. And even after the plot is twisted, some of those gripes still shine through. At times, it was hard to suspend my disbelief.
That said, I will again applaud the man for writing and directing something that would have likely failed miserably in the hands of another filmmaker. And the actors really eat up the sharp dialogue provided for them, resulting in some damn fine performances (chief among them, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins). The stage is set for an epic showdown and memorable bloodbath and provides both, but begins to feel like gratuitous violence for its own sake. Maybe it has more to say beneath the surface that will resonate more with me in the next few days. Overall, I would place this in the middle of the pack for the veteran director.
Currently available on Netflix.