Review: The Hateful Eight

praises the script while bemoaning the lack of his usually innovative filmmaking, in the first of three reviews of The Hateful Eight

Image: Allstar/The Weinstein Company

Image: Allstar/The Weinstein Company


The Hateful Eight is Tarantino’s second outing in the Wild West and delivers that blood-soaked outrageous cinematic experience we’ve come to expect from Tarantino.

Set in post-civil war USA, The Hateful Eight explores the forced meeting of eight of the most venomous, brutal and wicked characters the west has to offer. Add in plenty of racial and political tension, conspiracy, murder and a few pistols and you’ve got yourself quite the bloodbath. It seems that Tarantino has found a perfect home in the western genre. Not only does The Hateful Eight give him the scope to stretch his political and historical muscles, but also allows for a degree of realism and sense in his controversial violent approach to film. Set in the lawless and brutal landscape of the West, it feels like the natural birth place for the violent and barbaric characters Tarantino concocts.

Threats are not made ideally in The Hateful Eight, every character is involved in some kind of feud and conflict and any character could be killed at any point. It is Tarantino’s maintenance of this tension that keeps us hooked for what could have been a rather dragged out 3 hours. Moreover, Tarantino produces an impressive and remarkable storyline with The Hateful Eight, using only one location and a set number of characters, he produces this condensed and intense film that allows for close attention on character development and script.

What starts as an exploration into the remaining conflict of the civil war, unexpectedly descends into this fantastic and innovative murder mystery. Samuel L. Jackson becomes Miss Marple with shotgun, which does make for a very interesting method of questioning. Moreover, Samuel L. Jackson is simply brilliant. His performance throughout the film is consistently entertaining and outrageous.

The rest of the cast and script is good but there is something particularly magical in bringing together Tarantino’s script and Jackson’s performance. However, in comparison to Django Unchained and Tarantino’s other works there is something missing in The Hateful Eight. The limitations created by the film, means that it overall lacks that cinematic spectacle we are accustomed to in Tarantino’s films. The film is set in one confined room, and although this does add to the intensity of the script, it inhibits the filming.

We do not have these awe-inspiring shoot out sequences. In Tarantino’s other films the descent into a bloody chaos at the end of the film is a spectacle, built by these wonderfully creative and stylistic shots and sequences ( an example being that breath-taking shoot out in Candy’s house in Django Unchained). However, in The Hateful Eight the bloody ending just seems messy and out of control, the film does not have the momentum or innovation to make it a spectacle. The Hatful Eight is an exhibition of Tarantino’s brilliance as a script writer, with some hugely entertaining characters and storylines, but lacks in the inspiring and innovative filming we expect from one of cinema’s greatest directors.

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