Duo Film Review: The Hateful Eight
Loved from an early age, Quentin Tarantino has no doubt had a astronomical effect on the early stages of my cinematic knowledge with Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and to an extent, his work elsewhere on True Romance and everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure, From Dusk Till Dawn, being early examples of a somewhat unhealthy obsession which over the years has strangely subsided due perhaps to my ever-increasing age or Tarantino’s failure at creating something that topples the magnum opus of his early, and better, work. Reuniting with actors such as Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and of course, Samuel L. Jackson, The Hateful Eight suggested somewhat a return to Tarantino of old, whereby nostalgia and almost cringe-worthy attempts to reassert Tarantino’s love for cinema of the past would be discarded in place of a film that is in fact, wonderful. Staying away from trailers and fast-tracked reviews in the build-up to its’ release, the experience of watching The Hateful Eight was similar to that of watching your dad attempting to dance at a wedding, where although some parts are cringe-worthy and incredibly misjudged, on the whole you are quite amazed and taken aback, with Tarantino’s latest being a weird mixture of thrills, spills and blood, lots of blood.
After a series of fortunate events lead to an array of characters being bundled in to a place of shelter away from the snowy storm of a time soon after the American Civil War, tensions soon begin to mount regarding the real intentions behind many of the occupants who may indeed may not be who they say the are. In the middle of such is Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren, a.k.a “The Bounty Hunter”, a man whose intentions mirror that of Kurt Russel’s John Ruth, a.k.a “The Hangman” who is escorting the captured criminal Daisy Domergue to Red Rock in order to face swift and meaningful justice, yet their forced stop at Minnie’s Haberdashery leads to a turn events seemingly based around the captive Domergue whose real identity is equally ambiguous as the rest of the occupants within the stagecoach lodge. Following in light of its’ title, The Hateful Eight does indeed feature a rafter of characters all hell bent on being more vile and unlikable as the next, with both Warren and Ruth being violent, notorious bounty hunters whilst Domergue being completely unparalleled in her disgusting nature, all the while being beaten, strangled and flayed in blood over the course of the movie. With such characters at the heart of the film, it is indeed hard to engage emotionally with any of them, resulting in a strange situation similar to that of Pulp Fiction whereby although most of the people portrayed on-screen are inherently bad, it doesn’t stop from them being rooted for in some sense, with the character of Warren being my personal choice throughout most of the film even when told of his downright disturbing history as a bounty hunter and killer.
In terms of the film’s successes, the movies’ cinematography, direction, and score all deserve a sincere amount of applause, particular the former and the latter, with the swerving scenic scale of the mountainous surroundings being a beauty to behold and then brought right back down to earth within the confines of the cabin, boosting the tense atmosphere that takes note from Tarantino’s debut Reservoir Dogs rather too obviously, whilst the return of Ennio Morricone also marks the best score within a Tarantino film since Kill Bill: Vol 1 and should indeed reward him with yet another Oscar. Positive too is the acting trio of Jackson, Russel and Leigh who combine to become the standout performances, whilst the utterly stupid amount of violence that resonates within the film is not only ridiculously enjoyable but taints the film with Tarantino’s lust for a sense of exploitation he has always seemingly been after since the days of Pulp Fiction, which although may not be for everyone, added to the film’s overall sense of fun and B-Movie grandness.
Where the film is ultimately knocked by any chance of gaining full marks is its’ ridiculous need for a strong-willed editor to come in and say, “look Quentin, can we lose at least half an hour of the film?”, particularly in the first act in which the endless waves of dialogue start to become tedious and un-engaging, something of which I kind of expected when seeing its’ eye-popping runtime, whilst the inclusion of a nonsensical voice-over by Tarantino himself, the pantomime performance of Roth’s attempt as an Englishman, up to the final act, and a borderline racist, cliched inclusion of the character of Bob, a.k.a “The Mexican”, result in The Hateful Eight being a few steps away from the masterpiece many have proclaimed it to be. Highly enjoyable but with rather too many obvious flaws, The Hateful Eight is a strong return for Tarantino yet continues my willingness to see another masterpiece in line with his better and bolder earlier work.
Dan’s Score: 8/10
As you’ve probably noticed, Dan is a big fan of Tarantino. Myself however, not so much. I watched Pulp Fiction many years ago and honestly didn’t pay much attention to it as I had other things to be doing and seeing snippets of crude, over the top violence didn’t really do it for me. It felt like he was always trying too hard to be edgy and I couldn’t stand it. Until Django came. Django was the film that peaked my interest. A topic that’s typically trodden delicately around was attacked with brutal honesty, a western flair and little discretion. It’s cast were huge, it’s acting was on Oscar worthy and the music still livens up my commutes 4 years on! You’d suspect those 4 years to reward those patiently waiting with something as equally delectable but I can’t say I’m impressed. Dan and I have seen two variations of the film. For some reason, somewhere along the line, something was cut out which equated roughly 6 minutes less for Dan’s viewing alongside no interval break while I was “treated” to the original cut. So, what was this space filled with and why? We don’t quite know. It certainly wasn’t the excruciating “Chapter” breaks throughout that took your immersion and used it to floss and spitting you break a dribbled mess. Perhaps it was the rolling credits at the very beginning of the film that informs you of an actor that you spend the majority of the time waiting for to pop out of the woodwork while you watch a horse drawn cart get pulled through the snow several miles away. We don’t quite know.
My Mum and Dad always taught me not to play with my food so lets be frank. Its OKAY. That’s it. Sure, the filming is gorgeous and the scenery locations are real pretty to look at and all but you can’t polish a turd. While Django pulled no punches and its actors were on top of their game, The Hateful Eight swung and missed. Samuel L Jackson is back to his usual self as there is a fair bit of consistency with him. Tim Roth however is a completely different kettle of poison. I liked him in Lie To Me and hated him in that one Hulk flick that no-one talks about. The stereotypical British accent was god awful. Its almost laughable until you realise that this isn’t a comedy. The stereotypes all the way through are painful and feel like more of a joke than actual characters. Even more so when you consider that Tarantino actually tried to develop some of these characters. Instead he just gave up and insulted them all by making them utterly annoying and dull as doorknobs. Does the story pull it together, Pete? I don’t feel it does. As I mentioned previously, you are waiting for a certain actor to appear who is the catalyst to the whole situation and that really ruins any sort of surprise. Now as a premise, the story could be great. Eight bounty hunters locked up in a blizzard with one prisoner with a huge bounty on their head. But logic defies these guys. Everything is coincidental and was actually rather lacklustre in execution that bored me for the majority of the time.
Rather than drag on for too much longer, I’d like to note a few more things. The violence, while excessive was alright, the effects for it were fairly lacking and with The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero involved, I expected a higher quality of visual gore. I also expected a lot more from the soundtrack. John Legend’s “Who did that to you?” is a common tune for my playlist and Rick Ross’ “100 Black Coffins” joins that also but I’ve got nothing from this. The songs mirrored the movie incredibly well while Hateful Eight’s soundtrack merely blended into the background. I don’t feel that the Hateful Eight was a film for the consumer. It was no where near complete and didn’t have the pizazz needed to contend with its big, badass brother. Tarantino has been noted over the years talking about wanting to make a western film and it seems he’s probably riding that wave and letting the marketing sell the product no matter what. So overall what do we have – An exceptionally long experience which left me with nothing more to say than, “Meh.”
Pete’s Score – 6/10
Overall Score: 7/10
Posted on 12/01/2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Bruce Dern, drama, entertainment, Film 2016, Film Review, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen, mystery, Quentin Tarantino, samuel l jackson, The Hateful Eight, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.