The Pestle


Ep 21: “The Hateful Eight”

November 14, 2017

In this episode we take on Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” and discuss:

  • the camerawork and technique of shooting in one room;
  • we weigh in with a special guest about Tarantino’s use of the N-word;
  • and much more!

Big shout out to Shomari for joining us so last minute. It got lost in the episode that the use of the N-word did in fact bother Shomari, which is what drove him to research it in the first place, but that ultimately while he didn’t agree with Tarantino’s logic he could live with it. And for the record Shomari’s top 3 Tarantino films are: Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2, and Pulp Fiction. Not bad, sir. Check back here in the future for possible followups.

You can see here the focus on the left side of the screen is farther back than the right side of the screen. This is accomplished with a split-focus diopter.

In another diopter shot much later in the movie we can see the same idea is being used again, except the blocking is flipped. Major Warren is now on the right and impotent (literally and figuratively) while his strongman is on the left, holding the power.


When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.” – Quentin Tarantino

Notes & References:
Film first releases for 2 weeks in only 70mm
Ultra Panavision 70

This Week’s Recommendations:


  1. Marc Israel says:

    Hey Wes and Todd!

    I would like to actually share another possibility to the use of the “N” word in “The Hateful Eight”.

    At first I flinch as a liberated white man when I hear the word but as more as I hear it from a non-black person, the more I dislike them.

    The continuance of the use of the “N” word and the further disdain for the black person these racists are referring to, then the further from any human compassion I have for that person to the point that I am cheering for their on-screen down fall… as in they got what they deserves.

    The Bruce Dern character starts off as an old, crotchety character who slowly shifts from the spectrum of stoically sympathetic to a racist murderer and the attachment of his thoughts to the actions of what he participated in all the while using the “N” word allows that cinematic release once he’s shot.

    If the Confederate General doesn’t use the “N” word, then he’s a war criminal who should be sent to trial and not a blatantly racist war criminal who doesn’t get to see the Hang Man, which was the heart of the movie message or theme,

    What do you think?

    Also, like Kurt Russel but here gave me absolutely no suspension of disbelief… pet peeve…

    BTW, I had not seen the movie and after hearing the opening audio clip on The Pestle episode, I ordered it on Amazon and saw it over the weekend.

    Marc Israel

    1. wes says:

      That’s a really good point! Whether for settling us into the time period or not, it makes sense that the use of the N-word drives a wedge between us and the characters and helps us remove any hesitation about seeing their potential demise. The analysis of the General is a great example, he goes from sympathetic to disgusting POS in the span of a single word. Smart, even if still off-putting, use of language on Tarantino’s part!

      BTW, thanks for moving this comment over! I was wrestling with how to do that, haha.

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