The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight


As always I can promise you there are ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS in this review!

In the Mix
Director/Writer - Quentin Tarantino, Cast - Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walter Goggins, Demiàn Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Channing Tatum

The Ten Word Skinny
"QT goes west, wild west! Who dunnit? Not me! Sure...."

The Quote
John "The Hangman" Ruth: "You only need to hang mean bastards, but mean bastards you need to hang.

The Beef
Quentin Tarantino is back with a 6 shooter bang! Reservoir dogs on tour in the Old West. It doesn't quite match his previous films but for 3/4 of the movie it is a great ride to be on.

Let's get the investigative journalism bit out the way first.

The film maker has had a rough run when it comes to this movie to date, starting back in January 2014 when the screenplay leaked and he announced he would not be making the movie anymore. Then he was going to make the movie and then he fell out with Disney in a big way thanks to their refusal to allow him to show The Hateful Eight in LA at The Cinerama Dome in 70mm Ultra Panasonic. This is the format he intended for this film to be seen in (QT's favourite cinema and where he wanted to launch) but Star Wars was booked to play over the entire holiday period. You can see just how mad he was at this here on The Howard Stern Show:

Then the movie was leaked a week before its release (to be fair so did every other movie under the sun, it's Oscar season so this is nothing new each year). AND THEN three of the biggest cinema chains here in the UK announced days before the movie was due to premiere that they would not be showing the film. That involves over 800 cinemas run by Picturehouse and Cineworld alone (Curzon aren't showing the film either). It's over a distributor agreement however it does again involve a falling out over a particular cinema (The Hateful Eight was chosen to be shown at Odeon Leicester Sq in 70mm not at Picturehouse Central). Phew!

Enough heavy facts for you but I thought it was pretty interesting and will no doubt have a big impact on box office numbers. Right, on with the show!!!

Did you know that this is only QT's 8th film? No.. Me neither. It feels like he has done so many. That's because almost every film he makes has such huge cultural impact for the movie landscape sending shock waves through generations and decades of movie lovers. There are not many directors or writers that you can say that about.

So what are the seven that have gone before anyway? Prove it.
Reservoir Dogs 1992
Pulp Fiction 1994
Jackie Brown 1997
Kill Bill: Volume 1 2003
Kill Bill Volume 2 2004
Death Proof 2007
Inglorious Basterds 2009
Django Unchained 2012
The Hateful Eight 2015

He has counted Kill Bill as one film, which some might say even that was generous to do... and True Romance (one of the best films of all time) he wrote but didn't direct (Tony Scott did) so isn't included. There are some impressive movies on display, three belong in the All time Top 100 without question.

The Story in Short
Bounty hunter, John "The Hangman" Ruth (Russell) is escorting a wanted criminal, Daisy Domergue (Jason Leigh) when a dangerous storm hits. Taking refuge in a known cabin stop with a random collection of other shady characters we wonder who has a hidden agenda and against whom.
Tarantino has got a lot of the old band back together for this one, Sam L. Jackson in classic form, Michael Madsen AKA the growly one (Reservoir Dogs, Kill bill vol.1/2), and Tim "I love you honey bunny" Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction). All our welcomed with open arms back to the QT fold.

The real standout surprise for me though is actually, Kurt Russell, who I've felt has been in need of a comeback for quite some time. And that time is here! It feels right to see the classic 80's and early 90's action star back on the big screen and centre stage. Yes, technically Kurt Russell was in Tarantino's 5th film, Death Proof so is a returning guard but lets be honest and say who the hell actually saw that film?! Liar! He however can definitely say after this movie that he is offically a QT alumni.
One of the main reasons for such a strong Russell performance is down to the leading lady in this male heavy cast, Jennifer Jason Leigh (Single White Female). There is an animal like quality to her performance, resigned to her fate as caged convict awaiting the hangman's rope and going to enjoy ruffling feathers in her final days. Jason Leigh and Russell have a distinct physical aspect to their performances which make the movie far better than expected. The scrapes and black eye indicate just what I mean by this.
Samuel L. gets to be his super cool self and he genuinely seems to do some of his best work when given the go ahead by Tarantino. We get so much from this character, a war with words, a long descriptive story just to mess with another characters sensibilities and a whole lot of action.

I couldn't believe Luke Skywalker was in this film, seemed like an odd choice for a Tarantino western but sure enough he was there. Well, it isn't actually Luke but Channing Tatum disguised as a cowboy playing Luke Skywalker. Sound confusing? I hear you, it is. It is.

Popcorn or Pie
There is no-one on the planet that can write dialogue the way that QT can (Sorkin is coming close but in a different way entirely). This film flashes glimpses of screen writing brilliance before being bogged down by overly long scenes that feel unnecessary rather than heightening the performances. It needs to be 45 minutes shorter and most of that could have been cut from the end to have finished strong and left the audience pumped from the experience not slack jawed and yawning. Had this been done we would be looking at another classic from Tarantino but when you are left looking at your watch to see how long left, you know the 167 minute run time is felt in spades. Tarantino knows how to do a bloody ending but then again the audience knows that too as they've seen it by him many times before.

Say What?: 
In the film, Michael Madsen's character says the line, "a bastard's work is never done" which is the tagline on the poster for Inglorious Basterds (2009).

Let me know and comment below.

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