Film Review – The Hateful Eight (2015)

Hateful Eight

Title – The Hateful Eight (2015)

Director – Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

Cast – Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Demian Bichir, Channing Tatum

Plot – In the heart of a fierce blizzard deep in the wilds of post-Civil War America , a collection of bounty hunters, hangmen and assorted other “professionals” take shelter from the storm in Minnie’s Haberdashery. The uneasy close confines are made even worse by the fact that in the midst of the gathering is John “the Hangman” Ruth (Russell) and his captured alive bounty Daisy Domergue (Leigh) who may just have an accomplice in the group who is planning to break her free, no matter the cost. 

“Bringing desperate men in alive, is a good way to get yourself dead”

Review by Eddie on 22/01/2016

Disclaimer – this review was based on the shorter non-70mm version of the film

In the space of a few weeks Australian movie lovers and even more so fans of Westerns have had the rare opportunity to be spoilt for choice for their Wild West needs. All offering something different, we’ve had the visually striking The Revenant, the direct to disc cult classic in waiting Bone Tomahawk (a release we look forward to profiling on the blog soon) and perhaps for many the most anticipated 70mm filmed production in some time, The Hateful Eight, the 8th film from the master himself Quentin Tarantino.

Another lovingly crafted homage by QT, this time to the widescreen glories of the Western heydays, The Hateful Eight sees the wordsmithing wizard create a film that seems destined to one day turn its way into a stage production as more so than ever before this is a near 3 hour long film that rides almost exclusively off the back of Tarantino’s way with words and where films like Reservoir Dogs did the same in many respects it wasn’t quite to the scale or length of Eight’s tension riddled opening chapters that aren’t afraid to cause a major case of numb-bum for cinema goers but draw you in thanks to the mystery and intrigue (and a dark sense of fun) as to where things may end up.

Divided into 6 chapters of varying length and intensity, Eight’s beginning 4 segments are classic stuff. Filled with intrigue, backstory and of course hilarious dialogue and situations that we should feel bad for enjoying, you’ll be totally hooked into the mystery that QT has crafted and it’s a whole load of fun trying to figure out who’s playing who and who wants what in the cosy surrounds of Minnie’s Haberdashery. It’s then somewhat of a shame that QT’s closing chapters feel like something akin to a letdown and no amount of comical blood spray or desperate acts of survival can cover up the fact the film starts to feel not only slightly to longwinded but a little bit of a fizzle out considering the fantastically constructed slow build that preceded it.

Front and centre of this slow build is a typically strong cast of QT regulars and newbies and each character actor has their moment to shine, with the films best dialogue stolen by the perhaps never better Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren (who takes many of the films greatest lines), Tim Roth as the smooth talking local hangman Oswaldo Mobray and Walton Goggins as the soon to be local town sheriff Chris Mannix and with these men leading the charge it’s quite clear that the whole cast was having a blast chewing on the dialogue heavy scenarios created for them. It’s also great to see Kurt Russell (sporting what could be the year’s best movie beard, sorry Leo) back on fine form and Jennifer Jason Leigh is well deserving of her recent Oscar nomination for her turn as the conniving Daisy.

It would be great for Tarantino to one day give himself tighter editing restrictions and The Hateful Eight like many of his more recent films could’ve easily trimmed 15 – 20 minutes of screen time and lost none of its impact but overall we cinema goers should be appreciative of his continuing effort to make and produce unique movies that are lovingly crafted reminders as to why cinema is such a fabulous medium to enjoy.

Far from Tarantino’s best work, The Hateful Eight is still mightily entertaining stuff that’s meticulously shot, scored and scripted and a film that for 3 quarters of its run time threatens to be a new classic of the Western genre only to finish in a slightly disappointing manner. Still, for fans of unique cinema events and supporters of the man that has now given us 8 highly memorable films, The Hateful Eight will be one of the year’s most darkly enjoyable (and blood splattered) movie events.

4 inconvenient doors out of 5

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29 responses to “Film Review – The Hateful Eight (2015)

  1. I’ve read that this film has been performing very badly at the box office. The Revenant meanwhile doing very wel. Doesn’t mean anything regards film quality but I wonder if the long duration has people thinking they’d rather watch at home with the pause button handy for tea and toilet breaks?

    • Here in the US there is a boycott of The Hateful 8, due to the director’s behavior. So the box office performance is not going to accurately reflect the quality of the film as a film.

    • The theatrical version (vs the 70 mm) isn’t that long, it’s just a tad longer than The Revenant so I’m unsure that could account for the lower box office take in unless people are misinformed about the true runtime. I saw both movies and enjoyed them however I expected a little more from The Hateful Eight and was slightly let down whereas I was blown away by The Relevant. I’m not the typical movie-goer though either so I’d never films like these in the theatre. I don’t think there’s much of a real boycott going on. There was an idea put out there to boycott, which was silly to begin with, and it doesn’t seem to have taken hold. I also highly doubt the people who were proposing the boycott were going to see a QT movie anyway.
      When I purchased my Hateful ticket the box office attendant did warn me the movie was 3+ hours but I found that to be false so perhaps they are misinforming people and telling them it’s the 70mm runtime and perhaps some people can’t sit still for that. Still, The Revenant isn’t far behind in their runtime.
      Tea breaks are very tempting!

  2. I liked the movie. However, as soon as I left the theater I felt that there was an excellent movie to be found within the material that was shot to make The Hateful Eight. Tarantino, for some reason (maybe due to the fact he has way too much control over his flicks), just decided not to go find it.

    And so we ended up with a good three-hour experience that could have easily been made into something shoter, more concise, and uniformly compelling.

  3. I still don’t know if I liked this or not. I know I have to go in again and relax into its subtle nuances, enjoy the dialog and the Tarantinisms that I love so much but it just feels like such hard work.

    Sam Jackson didn’t work for me but then maybe he worked brilliantly because I hated every minute he was on the screen, that’s probably the point. I didn’t root for anybody – again, these characters are supposed to be truly heinous and unforgivable – which make me think perhaps this actually is QT gold, yet again.

    Even typing this makes me excited to watch it again dammit.

    Whatever, it’s obviously done something that not many films do lately and that’s make me continue thinking about it long after the final credits.

    Great review, as always 😃

  4. I feel like the modern cinema, pushed to be productive is taking a toll on otherwise great directors, made to manufacture the films just to continuously appear on the box office. It seems like the commercial cinema is loosing its artistic value bit by bit.
    Great review!

  5. Very interesting review mate, glad you got more out of it that I did! For me, this is the the only QT film that I loved immediately. I wonder what I’ll think if I see it again. I think there was definitely some great dialogue, but it didn’t zap me like his other films do

  6. Great review. I wanted to enjoy this more too. I totally agree with your comments regarding the final 2 chapters. Slow. In need of Sally Menke’s editing (RIP). She could rein him in. I loved the deliberate pacing of opening though.

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