M8, why all the H8 without Discrimin8 to a movie which is clearly B8?
Quentin Tarantino is… unique, to say the least. He’s always remained independent and small in his films, no matter how big the budget (his most out of the ordinary film would probably be Inglourious Basterds (2009)… Or It’s Pat (1995)). After the very big and proud film which was Django Unchained (2012), he’s returned to his roots with The Hateful Eight (2015), a quiet film that discusses the racial attitudes in post-Civil War Wyoming.
Lol, jk, this film is about heads being blown up and black penises.
The Hateful Eight begins with Samuel L. Jackson being picked up by Kurt Russell, a Bounty Hunter transporting Jennifer Jason Leigh to a nearby town for her execution. They get caught up in a blizzard and are forced to wait behind in a log cabin. While there, however, they start to realize that someone is there for slightly more nefarious reasons than previously thought, and murder seems imminent.
Most of the film takes place in one building during a raging blizzard. This is the first of several problems the film faces. Quentin Tarantino is not a perfect director, we must remember (The aforementioned It’s Pat is regarded as one of the worst films of all time). The pacing is the worst in any Tarantino film, with the first two acts being abnormally slow. However, it starts to pick up the pace when Samuel L. Jackson starts talking about his penis (that is the least creepy way I can describe that scene).
Story-wise, the film bears much resemblance to one of the director’s previous works, Reservoir Dogs (1992). Aside from the fact that the two main actors of Reservoir Dogs (Tim Roth and Michael Madsen) are present in The Hateful Eight, the plotline is eerily similar. Both films are about outlaws holed up in a building with at least one lawman in the building, and both have a sudden flashback to the antagonist’s point of view over halfway into the film, showing what really happened before.
And now, the actors. Quentin Tarantino is known for three things involving his actors. One, he recycles and uses the same ones (ie Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Christoph Waltz etc.). Two, he brings old actors back from obscurity (Ever heard of John Travolta?). And finally, Samuel L. Jackson. Always, Samuel L. Jackson. He abides by all three rules in The Hateful Eight. He brings back regulars like Tim Roth and Michael Madsen. He also brought back Kurt Russell, who suddenly realized he couldn’t cut it as an 80s action hero anymore. And, of course, there is Samuel L. “Word-that-means-he-sleeps-with-mothers” Jackson. How goes the acting, though?
To be fair, actors like Kurt Russell and Michael Madsen weren’t that talented to begin with, but there were phenomenal standout performances, especially from Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins. These performers gave their all, as a perpetually disturbed/angry prisoner and a perpetually racist/angry Sheriff.
The soundtrack as well… Quentin Tarantino hired Spaghetti Western composer Ennio Morricone – who famously scored The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) – to compose the soundtrack for The Hateful Eight. This helps the film tremendously, because not only is Ennio Morricone a freaking excellent director, he also gives the film an oletimey Spaghetti Western film. This is helped by the fact that Tarantino used 65mm film on an Ultra Panavision 70 camera, with no digital alteration afterwards, to give the film a grainy, Western look to it.
One of the best, and worst, aspects of the film is the script. The script is hilarious, to say the least, but it also encounters problems from time to time. For one, right after Samuel L. Jackson talks at length about his penis, exclusively using the words “dingus”, “Johnson”, “Willy” and “penis” to describe it. This is probably due to historical authenticity, as those words were commonly used at the time. However, all this is thrown out of the window by the introduction of a narrator over halfway through the film. Already a strange step, introducing a narrator so far into the story, but made even stranger with the narrator describing Jackson’s BBC as a “black d**k”, a word not used until much later. The introduction of modern slang doesn’t stop at penis jokes though, as one person at one time describes another as being akin to a person who enjoys coital relations with mothers. It is only uttered once in the film, despite said word not existing until the 1930s or 40s. And Tarantino knows this, he was criticized for this very same issue back in Django Unchained, and seemingly has not learned his lesson.
Then, because it’s Tarantino, we have to talk about violence. There’s pretty much nothing Tarantino-esque (aside from a few beatings here and there) until the last act, when there is blood left, right and center. Jennifer Jason Leigh gets her hair painted so hard with blood and body, it starts looking like Spaghetti Bolognese. This style of nothing then an explosion can be jarring to some people, and it is something to consider.
Overall, despite The Hateful Eight’s flaws, it’s still a great film. Perhaps not Tarantino’s best (Pulp Fiction (1994)), but definitely not his worst (do I need to bring up It’s Pat again?). The Hateful Eight is a worthy homage to one of film’s best genres.
The Hateful Eight gets a 6/7
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