The film marks his seventh collaboration with the Samuel L. Jackson.
Their partnership began with Tarantino’s 1994 cult favorite “Pulp Fiction,” and the duo last worked together on 2012’s “Django Unchained.”
“The Hateful Eight” is pretty much “Reservoir Dogs” set in post-Civil War Wyoming. Jackson plays violent bounty hunter Marquis Warren, a former Union Army major during the U.S. Civil War. He uses a personal letter from the late president, Abraham Lincoln, to gain respect among white men who despise black folk.
While Tarantino has carved a unique niche in non-linear/violent storytelling that incorporates satirical subject matter and references pop culture – a style that has become a cult favorite – fans and critics have also come to expect the overuse of the N-word in his films, and “The Hateful Eight” serves as yet another reminder that in Tarantino’s cinematic visions, white folks (especially white males) are ripe with racism and anti-black sentiment.
This writer/reviewer is certainly a fan of violent action films, gore/horror and all things nefarious, yet, as a black woman, sitting through 2 1/2 hours (plus an intermission) of Jackson being called a Nigger is hardly engaging. Throughout the film I couldn’t help but to wonder, “Do I need to be an American white male in order to fully appreciate this film?”
After all, who else gets most excited about black folks being called “nigger?”
‘Offensive’ is not the word to use to describe Tarantino’s obsession with the N-word. As a viewer of almost all of his work so far, “numb” is how I feel at this point about Quentin’s way of presenting Westerners’ view of black culture to the rest of the world.
Do I believe Tarantino is racist? Absolutely not. But I do believe he is incapable of writing black characters without disparaging them and attacking the black psyche.
EUR/Electronic Urban Report attended the Los Angeles ‘Hateful Eight’ press conference where Jackson and Tarantino spoke about their longtime collaborations and how they debate the issue of race in storytelling.
“It all comes out very genuinely,” Jackson said. “In the real world, that’s a very real thing right now,” he went on to explain about being a black man in America. “We have to be these ‘very nice kind of Negroes’ so we feel safe walking around. Because, if you present yourself as any other thing, then people call people on you.”
“And now, with this “See Something, Say Something,” I feel sorry for everybody who looks Middle Eastern right now, cause that’s gonna happen. For a minute, it was us.”
Jackson explained that “Quentin has this way of making us look at ourselves in this interesting sort of way.”
— Vulture (@vulture) December 23, 2015
“Major Warren is a lot of things, and one of the things he is, is a survivor,” Jackson said about his character. “And he’s surviving in a very dangerous time. We all understand race relations in that time. Getting back to the “nigga/not nigga conversation” when you’re talking about me, I can be in the room or out of the room but you’re very seldom gonna say ‘yeah, you know the black guy that’s with me.’ That’s not what people said. It’s just not how people talked. So, whether I’m in the room or out of the room, when they say ‘the nigga’, I don’t have to look around to see who they talking about. They talking about me, or they’re talking around me but I’m still there. So we don’t need to have those conversations because we all understand society, and all know that (in every society) everybody’s got somebody that they particularly put their foot on or walk around on. We don’t have to talk about it but we have to make it legitimate enough,” he added.
Tarantino said he’s never thought about setting his work in modern day or a futuristic society – ya know, a view-point free of contempt toward black folks. “What would that entail?,” he wondered. “What would it mean to jump 20 or 50 years or 100 years into the future, and really look at it from that point of view. I never really thought about it before, but it’s a profound thought.”
“We’re not just making a movie for Quentin’s fans, cause there are people who hate Quentin and what he stands for, are still going to go watch this movie, just because they like shoot-‘em ups,” Jackson explained, “and they’re gonna sit there and go, ‘Damn, right! All these niggas lie!’ That’s that segment of society, and there’s gonna be other people sitting there like, ‘oh my god, I can’t believe they talk like that.’ That’s just what movies do, and that’s why we make these things, so that we can start conversations, or get people thinking and hopeful that will make a change.”