MOVIE REVIEW: Fans of violence, tension, and Tarantino will love ‘The Hateful Eight’
I’m going to lay out a scenario for you.
You’re stuck in a remote lodge in the middle of a terrible blizzard with eight people you can’t stand. You have one job, one objective: to deliver your prisoner to justice. You get the sickening sense that at least one of the other people in the lodge is in cahoots with your prisoner.
Sounds interesting, right? Yeah, I totally agree. Now put that bottle film in a blender with a Tarantino movie and a western. What do you get?
A big, blood-soaked milkshake called “The Hateful Eight.”
This is the eighth film by director Quentin Tarantino (if you don’t count “Death Proof,” of course. Are we counting that? If we aren’t, then that would mean both the “Kill Bills” would need to count as one… oh, never mind.)
This one came along with some controversy. A couple of years ago, the script for this leaked online. In the aftermath, Tarantino swore that he would abandon the project and never make it.
Thankfully, something changed his mind because this is one of my favorite films of his since “Pulp Fiction.”
Now, I’ll start out with saying that I’m a big fan of the western genre. I really dug “Django Unchained” despite its editing issues; I could overlook them because, frankly, Tarantino has his own style that I really enjoy watching. Would I change some things in “Django?” Sure, but overall, it felt like Tarantino flexing his directorial muscles.
Firstly, “The Hateful Eight” is gorgeous. Visually, this is the most beautiful film he has ever made and easily one of the prettiest this year. The sprawling, snowy landscapes are simply stunning; they look more like a nature documentary than another visit to Tarantino’s hyper-violent world.
And man, speaking of violence, this one has plenty of it. This film feels right at home in a movie universe where Hitler got his face machine gunned into a pulp and Vincent Vega got blown away while on the toilet. The blood and gore here fits like one of the Jew Hunter’s gloves.
The characters here, played by Tarantino regulars like Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen, have plenty of interesting, snappy dialogue between them, as always. Each one is interesting in his or her own way, and since there are only eight of them, it never feels forced or unnatural. Exposition between the characters is what drives this whole thing along, and it’s written brilliantly by Tarantino himself.
That wealth of exposition does lead to some issues, however, the biggest being its length. Wow, this movie is long. With a running time of two hours and 47 minutes, some parts in the middle seemed to drag a bit. Once everything gets going, it does pick up, but there is a ton of lead-up to anything significant happening. It does add to the tension, really adding to the bottle film feel, but not quite enough to justify it grinding to a halt.
Pacing issues aside, I really enjoyed the film once it got going. It was funny, violent, and felt like a Tarantino movie. The cinematography was gorgeous, and the writing is snappy and well-done.
“The Hateful Eight” is right up there with Tarantino’s best, so if you’re a fan, see “Star Wars” one less time and catch it before it leaves theaters.