Saturday, 12 November 2016
Many months have passed since I watched 'The Hateful 8' at the cinema, and got to bask in all it's violent glory. It's a film I had been looking forward to when I heard about it's script being leaked. I never bothered reading the script, instead I wanted to remain surprised, and I am so glad I held out from taking a sneak peak of what was to come. I saw 'The Hateful 8' with my four best friends and my partner, who are all open minded when it comes to film, and will usually give most things ago no matter how awful they are. These people were the best kind of people to watch 'The Hateful 8' with, because I knew once the film was over, the discussion would be full of praise, happiness, and our nostalgic buttons would be pressed. Is it bad when that button is pressed? Hell no. I know you elitist film snobs out there don't like to let yourself enjoy films which pander to your childhood or a period in your life where you were more impressionable. It seems we cannot like a film just because it pays homage to a genre or style of film, as well as being fun, which for people can be extremely engaging. It's becoming increasingly aware that we have to like films that have a message, as well as appeal to subcultures that were once ostracised. We are meant to be equals when it comes to film, we are meant to make sure that our films are politically correct with the right amount of diversity. This is how we are meant to engage with our audiences now as we are apparently more 'socially aware'. Well I call bullshit on that.
After watching 'The Hateful 8', I decided to peruse the message boards on IMDB as well as reading articles and essays on the film; opinions were very divided. 'The Hateful 8' is a film with no middle ground, you either loved it for it's creativity to incorporate themes from the film The Thing and melt that with the Exploitation and Spaghetti Western genres, or you hated it for it's lack of strong female lead, over-the-top violence and time length. I read an article on the film which stated how women didn't like the way Jennifer Jason Leigh's character was constantly battered around, whether it was an elbow to the face or her graphic demise. Firstly let's get this straight, her character was in a gang, she murdered people, she was caught, she had a freakin' bounty on her head which is explained pretty early on in the film, so why the problem? Is it because she's a woman? Would you have the same reaction if it was a white man? No you wouldn't.
The more threads and articles that I read on 'The Hateful 8', the more I was aware that people are really trying to 'police' what we can and can't watch by deeming what is socially acceptable, and what isn't. I am not saying important real life issues should not be brought to us through film. I thought 'Spotlight' was a magnificent film which brought forward an issue that NEEDED to be addressed. Yes we do need films like 'Spotlight', but what ever happened to us being in a fantasy. Why can't we just go to the cinema and watch a film because we like the genre or a specific actor that is appearing in the film? Why does it always have to be about a social justice theme? Why is everything so political, and why are film fans like myself forced to feel bad for not wanting to continuously bask in depression on-screen? I suffer from depression and anxiety and have done so for many years. I don't watch or read the news, you may think I am uneducated but to be honest I am depressed as it is already without having constant updates on why the human race is so shitty.
I love exploitation films which push the envelope and hold up a mirror to society and show everyone for what they really are in a grotesque and vile manner; I will never deny that. However I am deemed someone with a low standard of film taste because I love films like 'I Spit on Your Grave', which has just as much an important message to give as 'The Accused' - another film depicting the effects of gang rape. But why is one film deemed a respectable piece of cinema with stunning and real portrayals that are worthy of Academy Awards, and the other depicted as dirt not worthy of a proper cinematic release? Why the double standards? Oh you want diversity, you want to tackle 'tough' issues Hollywood, just as long as you get to pick and choose right?
Violence in films is an issue that is brought up a lot on the IMDB message boards, Twitter and Facebook. I cannot count the amount of articles I have read where people are disgusted with violence, depravity or anything with a tiny whiff of a film being gratuitous. I understand that violence is not everyone's cup of tea, that I have no problem with. But when I see the same kind of people that post those articles and shrieking "WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN" and then posting comments about how much they 'adored' the pretentious arthouse violence that we see in films like 'Salo' and 'Neon Demon', it makes me realise just how many hypocrites there are.
The Great Depression was a time when people needed that fantasy of a film. People would save every dollar they could to actually go to the cinema, and forget what real life bestowed upon them for a couple of hours. We are living in a time now where we are dealing with religious bigots, over-saturation of political rallies, high-school shootings, terrorists, global warming, third-wave feminism, Catholic church abuse cover-ups. And the last thing I want to see on screen is the exact same tripe which is blasted all over the news or social media.