Nobody directs quite like Quentin Tarantino, and The Hateful Eight is further evidence of his glorious style. Here, he takes on the Western genre and injects mystery into it, as eight strangers find themselves snowed in, trapped in a cabin with the uncertainty of leaving. Tarantino’s usual sensibilities come into play throughout; lengthy conversations are used upon topics that do not necessarily advance the plot, and whilst no conversation is “Royale with Cheese” levels of brilliance they still feel natural. Tarantino’s use of flashbacks are also of great importance and are used effectively to reveal the mystery, whilst the dark humour and strong music helps to cement Tarantino’s thumbprint on the film.
The best aspect of the film is the characters. Although none of the protagonists could be deemed likeable, their fascinating personalities and backstories make them a pleasure to watch, whilst the conflicting viewpoints between many of the characters (including Samuel L. Jackson’s bounty hunter and Walton Goggins’s Confederate militiaman) keep a realistic tension throughout the film. The actors also bring their all as expected for Tarantino. The particular stand out is Jennifer Jason Leigh, who provides the necessary insanity and gleeful masochism to main antagonist Daisy Domergue, making her arguably the most fascinating character to watch despite being a deplorable human being.
The film does suffer a bit in the first third with its pacing, and at times there are moments where conversations feel drawn out, such as the opening shot of Wyoming, feeling indulgent and unnecessary. However, the punchy dialogue and the dark chemistry between the characters manages to alleviate this problem somewhat. Additionally, once the characters reach the cabin the film begins to really hit its stride, especially once Tarantino begins to engage in the violence so prevalent in his film. The gore, whilst unsettling at times, is so over the top that it becomes enjoyable to watch, whilst the main mystery is paid off in a satisfying manner.
Overall, The Hateful Eight reaffirms the skills of Tarantino, as he crafts an intriguing mystery with disturbing and antagonistic, yet fascinating, characters, whilst wrapping it all up in his distinct visual and narrative style. Some may balk at the extreme graphic violence and the three hour run time – and indeed, the film’s opening hour does take up a little too much time – but the brilliant second half makes the lengthy build-up completely worth it.
Is it worth watching?
+ Intriguing characters
+ Glorious violence
The Hateful Eight demonstrates Tarantino’s as he creates an intriguing mystery.
Watch the trailer for The Hateful Eight
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