Movie Review: ‘The Hateful Eight’
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russel, Walter Goggins, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Demian Bichir, Channing Tatum, Zoë Bell, James Parks
Plot: In a post Civil Way America, a bounty hunter and his quarry seek shelter at one top a mountain during the blizzard with a untrustworthy collection of character. Before the first night passes loyalties are revealed and blood is spilt.
Review: A glance at the internet this past fortnight would leave you thinking there’s only one movie coming out this December. This just isn’t true – there’s another bloody Chipmunks movie out. More importantly, there’s the latest offering from fast talking purveyor of mayhem Quentin Tarantino, and this holds more interest for me than Star Wars. For The Hateful Eight he’s assembled a team of his long term collaborators and some new talent to spin a Spaghetti Western inspired yarn.
Kurt Russel plays ‘The Hangman’, a bounty hunter bringing in Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) for a pay day. As they travel over the mountain they pick up a Federation veteran turned bounty hunter (Jackson) and Confederate veteran turned sheriff (Goggins) before they get holed up in a way point during a blizzard. We wind up with a room full of colourful and volatile characters with little reason to trust each other. Mix in racial tension, grudges and the available bounty on Daisy and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
This is, to coin a term, Tarantino porn. A gathering of his recurring performers, given oddball almost cartoonish characters and plenty of dialogue to chew through. The movie is on slow boil for a the most partas we learn more and more about the characters and try to work out who is there for the bounty. If you’ve enjoyed Tarantino’s indulgent script writing in the past you’re in for a good serve once more. It’s also his most technically proficient film, making good use of both the outdoors snowscapes and the mostly single location setting in creative ways.
Where the films loses it’s grasp is when the reveal of the traitor comes about and the stylistic violence erupts, and we wind back the clock to show how it all came about. It doesn’t offer a great deal of new information and without the element of suspense it feels like an intermission to the action. As characters drop off and secrets get revealed the plot struggles to fill in the running time. W essentially go from a slow burn to another slow burn.
Still, the dialogue is fantastic and you’ve got a great ensemble. Leigh, Goggins, Jackson and Roth in particular deliver their lines with relish. There’s a great energy through every scene and it’s easy to sit back and enjoy Tarantino’s indulgence.
At the end of the day it’s not Tarantino’s best work, but even his weaker efforts stand above most modern cinema. He manages to marry a sense of mirth with high end visuals, whilst most directors see the two as mutually exclusive.
Rating: EIGHT out of TEN