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December 28, 2015 [The Hateful Eight]

The writing never stopped being snappy and startling, but it was all here-n-there, with never a whole thing made. To stem my impatience, I started imagining a theater piece in which new actors performed scenes from his movies. How would Denzel Washington check out the big brain on Brad? How would Michael Shannon torture that soon-to-be-semi-earless cop? Would Natsha Lyonne make a suitably ferocious Honey Bunny? It was all I could muster to sustain interest in his movies since Jackie Brown more than fifteen years ago. And suddenly Tarantino realized he was a playwright after all, and traps eight hateful people in one suitably expansive set—but not too expansive, only enough to lose someone in the periphery who may or may not be sneaking up on you. The indulgence of those monologues finds armchairs, beds, tabletops, pot-bellied stoves to cozy up to the inevitable: bursts of humor and gore, slow boils that boil over, revelations as byzantine as any Empire. Never have I seen him so intent

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