My Rating: 7/10 SEE IT
Quentin Tarantino’s highly anticipated Western thriller hit theaters this holiday weekend and delivered ruthless violence and the quintessential Tarantino dialogue we’ve all come to love. While the film is layered with suspense and intrigue it admittedly takes quite a bit of time to push the plot forward.
The Hateful Eight follows a similar fashion established by Tarantino’s last two films, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. If this were the third part of a trilogy however, it would be a very weak finale. The first act is slow and somewhat boring (I never thought I would say that about a Tarantino flick). The expository techniques come across as lazy and (dare I say it) pretentious. But it is not without its charm.
The Hateful Eight feels like a homage to all of Tarantino’s past installments at times. Borrowing from films like Reservoir Dogs as it unfurls its mystery through conversations and infrequent, yet impactful acts of violence. Its setting is remarkably similar to Django Unchained and the auteur director resurrects the same cast he’s been using for the last twenty years- who are perhaps the highlight of the entire feature.
Kurt Russel (Deathproof), Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), and Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill) star in this murder mystery. But all of them are outshined by the masterful Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained).
I don’t believe there is an actor alive who can spit out Tarantino’s writing better than Jackson. He is the saving grace of this film. After spending an hour and a half of slow, drawn out character introductions, Jackson delivers a monologue with such tenacity and unmatched charisma it will cause you to question why, in his 43 years of acting, he has not won a single Academy Award.
Alongside Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh gives one of the best performances of her career as the captive prisoner Daisy Domergue. She brings an almost childlike ferocity to the character which plays out well across from Kurt Russel’s hard ass demeanor. Tim Roth is exceptionally good, although it seems as though his soul purpose was to fill in for the absence of Christoph Waltz (who won two separate Oscars for starring in Tarantino’s films, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained). Channing Tatum’s brief role is well executed. I’m discovering new respect for him with each film (so long as I ignore his infrequent missteps- i.e. White House Down).
The final act of the film ties everything together in a very pleasing way. Although – and I don’t mean to be too critical as I am a huge Tarantino fan – I feel as if some of his more over-the-top violent scenes are done purely out of an effort to be edgy. I had a similar issue with Django Unchained. There is rarely any merit or repercussions for the violence portrayed on screen. The result is violence for the sake of violence. Little meaning, and, in turn, forgettable.
This is a relatively short review, but that is simply because I didn’t walk out of this film feeling passionately for it or against it. It just kind of is what it is. A well-executed suspense-driven film which doesn’t offer anything beyond its mystery, and I in no way feel compelled to see it a second time… But let’s be real: I probably will.
What did you think of The Hateful Eight? Was I hating on it too much? Let me know what you think in the comments. And don’t forget to “like” and “share”! Thanks for reading!