Say what you will about the man himself but there is no denying that a film directed by Quentin Tarantino is always an event not to be missed. The Hateful Eight is perhaps his slowest film to date and without question his longest at a staggering three hours and two minutes. Despite the scenic route he’s decided to take here the journey is every bit as exciting as his previous jaunts into the madness that is his mind. The dialogue is as crisp as anything he’s ever written and the lines are delivered with absolute fervor which makes you feel every ounce of the ensuing lunacy. Through a joint effort of screenwriter, director and cast all placed in a beautifully erected set, The Hateful Eight is unadulterated but simultaneously contained chaos at its finest.
I won’t lie or dance around one important fact about this movie and that is about 90% of the three hour runtime is dialogue based. It is two or more characters simply talking with one another trying to learn more about the people they are stuck with as a blizzard pummels them relentlessly. But if you know anything about a Tarantino film you know that when bullets aren’t flying or limbs aren’t being separated from their host, an intense exchange of words are flying instead. From talks of royales with cheese to foot massages to talks of Superman, no matter the subject the conversations between enemies or friends or colleagues are always just as engaging in his films as any action sequence he also decides to wow us with.
However make no mistake, this IS a Tarantino film. And what is a Tarantino film without a body count? Simply put it isn’t one. When this highly irregular group of unstable individuals learn as much about one another as humanly possible a picture of their previously unforeseen situation begins to take shape creating an image replete with betrayal and inhumane behavior that will make anyone cringe (including myself) when they too get the entire picture into focus. When this happens, bodies most definitely begin to drop. Blood spills and guts untangle with steam rushing out of warm bodies into a bitter cold that could only be described as a hellish sort of freeze. Heroes are absent in this tale so don’t expect much in the way of a happy ending for your soon to be favorite hate filled westerners.
Much the same as his previous films, he manages to bring out award worthy performances from every single person in this dark rural tale. But one stands out above the rest and that is the single hateful female of the film, Daisy Domergue played brilliantly by Jennifer Jason Leigh. She is bluntly put, foul and hideous from both physical abuse and a past that is anything but wholesome. Luckily for her she has a fantastic cast of who’s who that features the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Channing Tatum, Tim Roth and many others. This is a phenomenally talented group of actors bringing to life a truly bizarre and unquestionably violent tale for the fans of Tarantino. At this point you either love him or hate him and The Hateful Eight will only widen this gap.
The one thought I continue to come back to with this film is that is reminds me of another film in his repertoire and that’s a good thing. This is very much in many ways the western Reservoir Dogs. A group of strangers forced into a confined area trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Secrets are revealed and alliances made as guns are raised and bodies fall. Characters confront one another with ill intent not far behind and this is an apt description of both films.
Tarantino is in my top five directors of all time so I guess I can’t argue that my opinion of his films are biased. I begin watching his film with a certain amount of acceptance even though I’ve literally seen none of it (not counting footage from the trailers). I admit this but more than that I have simply set aside any normal doubts over his movies that I might possess for any other film. He has a wide ranging formula for great films and in the twenty-three years he has been directing films he hasn’t let me down once. My biased opinion of him is based on a history that is nothing but all wins and zero losses. The Hateful Eight I believe will be his most divisive film to date separating more people than usual into the camps of “I loved it” or “I hated it”. It’s slow much of the film but slow should never be entangled with the words good or bad. Slow can be insightful and meticulous creating a pot that is on the verge of boiling over and making a serious mess of things.
The Hateful Eight is a damn good time (albeit a long one) featuring a great cast working off of a perfectly constructed script and it’s as I said captained by a master of celluloid. Take in the dialogue, drink it up and eat the chunks too, it’s good for you. But save room for dessert, and bring napkins because it’s gonna get messy.
Rated R For: strong bloody violence, a scene of violent sexual content, language and some graphic nudity
Runtime: Two different versions are available: 168 minutes or 182 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Western, Mystery
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Channing Tatum, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Demian Bichir
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4.5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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