I love a Quentin Tarantino film.
Many will continue to accuse him of taking older films, most of which many have never heard of in the first place, and incorporating them into his in some way. Everything has a hint of nostalgia one way or another; from the font of the title screen to the music used in the films. The Hateful Eight is no exception to the typical Tarantino tropes, but that in my opinion, is not an issue. What makes the audience and fans come back is how he puts his own spin on each of his films that are very different in tone and genre.
Being stuck in the haberdashery in the middle of a blizzard in Wyoming with a murderer; a couple of bounty hunters, a hangman, a couple of former Civil War veterans and even more shady characters is the set up for the film that combines a western and an Agatha Christie mystery. From the start not everyone is on the up and up and Samuel L. Jackson’s character being one of the smartest men in the room is the character you tend to side with the most in spite his character flaws, but those flaws are nothing compared to the men and woman verbally abusing him.
Every actor in The Hateful Eight pull their weight and then some for the most part. The real standouts in this film, in my opinion, is Walter Goggins and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It’s good to a character actor like Goggins light up the screen since Justified went off the air. Leigh’s murdering character that is on her way to hang is, well, disgusting and the way she pulls off the character is intriguing at the very least and she deserves the nomination she gets.
Kurt Russell’s bounty hunter John Ruth almost comes across as a fouler mouthed McReady from John Carpenters, “The Thing”. He lights up the screen from the beginning and does let up dragging Leigh next to him the entire time. Some may get up in arms over the abuse that Leigh takes in this film, but she is such a nasty character that most won’t mind seeing Russell take his shots.
I could go and on about the cast but there is no real need to as everyone pulls their weight. The only character I could really care less about in this movie is Michael Madsen’s Joe Gage. Besides a quick scene between him and Kurt Russell’s character, he is mostly just there and doesn’t have anything interesting to do even at the climax.
The Hateful Eight is Tarantino’s most visually brutal film since Reservoir Dogs. In a room full of bounty hunters and possible fiends, it makes sense how the violence plays out in an over the top fashion that we would expect.
Anyone going to see The Hateful Eight, hopefully in its 70MM projection, needs to prepared the amount of dialogue used in this film which is nothing new to a Tarantino film. In fact, as much I love dialogue in a film, it dragged on for longer than what it needed to do. The film clocks in around three hours and could have used an edit to cut down the first half a bit. Then again, it’s usually those lines that give us gold, but not as much this time around.
If anything, The Hateful Eight is a commentary for today’s world set in a post-Civil War America and how some things haven’t changed from how we look at race to how Americans look at each other over events that happened years ago where no one living today had anything to do with. While I was entertained for the most part, I left thinking about the parallels the movie had in common with the 21st century and it made me a little sad.
The Hateful Eight is a little Reservoir Dogs, a smidge of Pulp Fiction, and a dash of Django Unchained…and there is nothing wrong with that. From a set up that seems like it could hold its own on stage, we are given another great film. It’s not the best Tarantino film by far, but I don’t think I could place it in the eight films that Tarantino loves to boast about. In a film that goes on a little longer than necessary in certain parts, it is still satisfying in its dialogue and its violence.