Recently, we’ve been blessed by Netflix with some of their best original work. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t still love the classics. One such director we often turn to is the post-modern pop master, Quentin Tarantino. up until recently, we had almost the entire catalogue of the auteur to paw through but now we’re down to just two titles.
Icon of cinema and idol of style, Quentin Tarantino’s reign in the land of cult cinema began in the early 1990s, and though staggered by promises of retiring, shows to be steadily continuing. His style, usually contained within genre, features sharp, snappy dialogue, cinematic vigour and an eccentric characterisation, has brought some of the silver screen’s largest personalities to light.
During a childhood submerged in cinematic influence, Tarantino dropped out of high school at the age of just 15 and opted for work at a cinema, as well as a video store later in life. As a result, the budding director developed a database of film knowledge, an index of inspiration and references that would later inspire his work from script to screen. The influence of 1970s Samurai Cinema, as well as Hong Kong’s particular brand of crime movies, is clear throughout Tarantino’s filmography, from Reservoir Dogs to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
But the director has also always shared a deep affection for westerns and has tried to add the magic of the wild west to his catalogue across the years. In a twist of fate, it is those two titles Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight that remain on Netflix making it the perfect double feature. Let’s take a look at both films in a little more detail.
Django Unchained (2012)
A violent revenge film concerning a freed slave who sets out to rescue his wife from a plantation with the help of a German bounty hunter, Django Unchained addresses the slave trade of the 15th century with a heavy hand. In part, an aid to blacksploitation cinema, as well as Sergio Leone’s westerns, a terrific Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz elevate the material, only until Tarantino’s token cameo anchors the film into absurdity.
Discussing his project, Tarantino once commented: “To do movies that deal with America’s horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like Spaghetti Westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it, and other countries don’t really deal with because they don’t feel they have the right to.”
In what is now a typical trend in Tarantino pictures, the cast was jam-packed with high profile names. Joining Foxx and Waltz on the line-up included the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington and many more.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
The eighth project in Tarantino’s canon, The Hateful Eight devoted itself to the genre that has long inspired the director in question.
Fueled by the unmistakable atmosphere of the late Ennio Morricone’s fantastic score, the film becomes a microcosm of the genre itself, set within the restricted confines of a wood cabin in the dead of winter. There can be no doubt that this is Tarantino once again taken to the very structures of the traditional style to dismantle the very notion of the genre.
Distrust and deceit run riot through the cold desolate pines and the bleak interior of the cabin itself, inhabited by a bounty hunter, his prisoner and six other untrustworthy characters. What the film may lack in story, it makes up for in atmosphere, creating a palpable sense of unease.