Does Quentin Tarantino's New Film 'The Hateful Eight' Live Up To Expectations? [REVIEW]
Quentin Tarantino is back with his new bloody, brutal, whodoneit, westernish film The Hateful Eight. There is no disputing that Tarantino is a master filmmaker and has made a number of quality films, but this is not one of them. The film is a hodge podge of other films I have seen before, equipped with enough violence and racial epithets to make your head spin. I can admit Tarantino has handled violence and race pretty well in his previous films, but here I just left the theater somewhat unsatisfied and annoyed.
The film takes place sometime after the American civil war. The audience is first introduced to John "The Hangman" Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who he is transporting to Red Rock, Wyoming, via stage coach, in the dead of winter. Domergue is to be hung for the crime of murder but bad weather forces them to detour to Minnie's Haberdashery. On the way there, they run into former Northern Army major turned bounty hunter, Marquis Warren (Samuel Jackson), who is transporting three dead bounties to collect a reward in Red Rock. But first, he plans to follow John Ruth and Daisy Domergue to 'Minnie's Hapedasery' to weather the storm. On the trail the stagecoach the trio run into the new sheriff of Red Rock, Chris Mannix. Although John Ruth is skeptical of Mannix, He is allowed to come aboard the stage coast on the way to Minne's, the last stop red rock.
Once the group gets to their first destination they meet four other wayward souls. Bob (Demain Bichir); the Hapedasery caretaker, Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth); A hangman executioner headed to Red Rock, Joe Gage (Michael Madsen); A wanderer looking for shelter from the storm, and General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern); A former confederate soldier looking to bury his son. I don't want to give too much away, but things get hectic from here.
Walking into the film I was expecting a knock down, high noon type of western. Instead this was a game of CLUE, in a western setting, drenched in faux socio-political pretense. The dialogue is a heavy mix of comedy, and satire that beats you over the head so hard you'll be likely to suffer a migraine headache before the film hits mid way.
One of the positives about the film are its performances. Every member of the ensemble gives a solid performance. It is called the Hateful Eight for a reason. Each actor works to out do the other to make sure the audience hates them by the end of the film. Among the standout performances for me is Samuel L. Jackson. Quentin Tarantino knows how to bring out the best in him as an actor. No matter what the story is, Tarantino knows how to make Jackson shine on screen. I don't know why Jennifer Jason Leigh has all of this award buzz surrounding her performance. Half the time she's getting beaten up, and the other half she's shouting the N word. This award buzz deserves to go to Jackson. His character was the one with charisma. Jackson pulls you in and convinces you of whatever he says, whether its to be believed or not. I truly think this is his best performance, as he is in top form here.
Another film highlight is the cinematography is a gorgeous looking film. Its definitely Tarantino's most scenic movie. Filming in 70mm really brought out the lush, vibrant colors of the Wyoming wilderness. Half of the film taking place outdoors in the dead of winter, but he makes it work under those harsh conditions. He employs the usual things that his films have such as the usual angles, dramatic close ups and time jumping scenes which of course I was happy to see. Were this film directed by anyone else, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed the visuals as much as I did, but its Tarantino, and the man know's film.
However, my overall feeling here is that with Hateful Eight the violence is present for violence sake, not because it furthers the plot. Again, this is something that Tarantino does so well in his previous films that it is a disappointment see how messy this film handles it. The N word is thrown around so much, and at such awkward moments, it became uncomfortable, and after a while, unbearable. I can see why it was almost necessary in a film about slavery (Django Unchained), however, in this murder mystery winter wonderland, the use of the word is excessive. This is not a Tarantino masterpiece, but a revenge film. And I don't mean revenge as in Kill Bill, I mean Tarantino's revenge on all his critics and "haters." I can't help shake this feeling that this film is all about sensationalism. It's almost narcissistic of him to make a film like this.© 2016 The Classical Art, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.