Greetings movie lovers!
So after two months we have come to the end of our Quentin Tarantino Director Series and fittingly this eighth and final post is on The Hateful Eight (2015). Immediately following this review you will get a chance to vote in the poll for the top Tarantino film. Excitements, I know.
But first The Hateful Eight. With a big SPOILER ALERT let’s jump into the review:
#1 One angry woman
The film was originally to be a sequel to Django Unchained and it was reported that Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Major Marquis Warren a.k.a. “The Bounty Hunter”, was originally an older version of Jamie Foxx’s ex-slave turned bounty hunter Django. But the film switched gears and we got original characters and a very unique murder mystery in a Western setting.
The performances are all quite good and I especially enjoyed Jackson with his tricks and murderous glares, and Kurt Russell as the brutal and determined John Ruth a.k.a. “The Hangman”; not the first time the actor has been trapped in a snowstorm. Jackson is a frequent Tarantino collaborator while the director previously worked with Russell in Death Proof. QT alums Tim Roth and Michael Madsen also return. But the standout is easily Jennifer Jason Leigh as the firecracker Daisy Domergue a.k.a. “The Prisoner”. She is sassy, vicious but also has a vulnerable and somewhat witty side. Leigh earned a Best Supporting Actress nod for her efforts and it was most deserved.
#2 Shooting the breeze
The majority of this film is people sitting and talking with each other but with the deft hand of Quentin Tarantino it is riveting instead of boring. The witty and intriguing dialogues may shine a light on a character but also serves as a way to hide their true motives. Perception versus reality is a strong theme throughout the narrative.
And Jackson’s monologue about the General’s son is some disturbing stuff. Thanks for the imagery QT. Thank you so much! Through the dialogue you are fed the story crumb by crumb and you can just feel Tarantino skillfully leading you with every line until the bloody truth is completely revealed.
#3 Thick Tension
The Hateful Eight is a visually striking film and the wide shots out in the snow are particularly breathtaking. The film’s second Academy Award nomination was for Best Cinematography. But my favourite aspect of the film is the taut, tight tension which is aided by the claustrophobic setting. Oh my goodness gracious me! It just builds and builds and builds and then BANG! Russell’s character is vomiting up poison or the General gets shot dead. This movie is definitely not for the faint of heart but is a master class of a thriller.
#4 All blood, no heart
You knew it was coming didn’t you? There had to be blood and buckets of it and lots of bullets flying and lots of folks dying. The scene where Jackson got shot in the family jewels really hit me where it hurt, if you know what I mean.
I was not a fan of the ending though. I understand that Leigh’s character is supposed to be the villain but after watching her be repeatedly abused you end up sympathetic to her. And she is sweet if in a slightly psychotic way. Watching her be brutally hanged felt empty, hollow and undeserved. Maybe a quick shot to the head would have been better. All in all The Hateful Eight is a great atmospheric Western bloody thriller with tension that could transform coal into a diamond.
Rating: We give it 3/4 Mexican standoffs.
So now that we have finished with The Hateful Eight it is time for you to vote: