Strong performances and excellent writing make-up for an unnecessarily long run-time.
“THE HATEFUL EIGHT” follows a bounty hunter and his prisoner as they find shelter from a deadly winter storm in a remote cabin and discover a collection of unsavory characters inside seeking refuge from the weather as well.
Quentin Tarantino’s eighth directorial effort stars a collection of cast members he has worked with before and like some of his past films the result was entertainingly unique cinema. No one seems to pour their love of old film techniques and styles into their own projects as much as Tarantino and in this one he crafts a very enjoyable western, albeit an extremely long one.
This one almost played out like a murder-mystery stage-play and was very similar to 1985’s “Clue”. The plot was simple but well conceived and while it did entertain, it would have been a much more enjoyable story with a shortened run-time. The were some pacing issues that could have been cleaned up to make things move along much smoother.
It was a beautifully shot film regardless of the fact much of the story took place inside the single room cabin. There was a collection of nicely framed shots showing off the locations, and the harsh winter weather was well captured giving the film a cold ominous feel to match the group of characters that filled the cast. The wardrobes were also very well done and managed to give each character their own personality through their attire alone.
I really enjoyed the story-line being told in chapters and it was a fun throwback to film past. The score was also very appealing and like Tarantino has been known to do, he perfectly selects the soundtrack and it stamps his his personality on the film. It also captures the feel of an old-time western as well. Tarantino also injects his trademark sarcastic humor into the dialogue and it translates to plenty of chuckles throughout despite the dark themes and context.
The cast was excellent and all did their best to carry the three-hour time this one holds you for. Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson were amazing in this one and both easily deliver the dialogue and create their character personas with ease. In particular Jackson, who in my opinion brought the film the strongest performance in capturing a character who relished in delivering his brand of unfiltered, blunt wit. Russell was also able to bring the film an ominous character, that at the same time could make you chuckle with his lines and mannerisms.
Jennifer Jason Leigh was also extremely good in this film and was the true star alongside Jackson in my opinion. Her unrelenting delivery was intriguing and she without question sold the part with complete realism and perfectly captured the full range of emotion the role needed. Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Walter Goggins and Michael Madsen were all excellent as well and they rounded out the cast with highly compelling performances.
Something that made this film so enjoyable was the chemistry between the cast and their ability to play off one another to create many tense, riveting conversations. For much of the film there is not really any action going on and with the high amount of dialogue that filled this film, it was a saving grace that the cast as a whole made the most of the material.
Again, with so many positive things to say about this film it all goes back to the extremely long length. The first three-quarters of this story-line takes its sweet time to develop, and at times the pace feels like a crawl. The tail-end does pick up some, but by then the film is at the two and a half hour mark, and finally kicking up the pace doesn’t do much. It does however allow for a rewarding closing that does its best to make the time you spend watching this one worth it. It delivers a solid twist and all the Tarantino-esque violence fans of his would come to expect.
In the end “The Hateful Eight” is an entertaining film with cast performances that make it much better than it could have been. Tarantino has a strong resume, but in my opinion the the cast saved him from what could have been a dud. The story was simple, but with a decent twist and was nothing near the level of complexity to require the run-time this one carries. Tarantino’s newest film is worth a watch but get your snacks and get comfortable because it takes a LONG time to play out, and regardless of the enjoyment it delivers, you will feel somewhat rescued when the credits finally role.
– Starring –
Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Zoë Bell, Channing Tatum
– Directed By –
Time: 168 min
MPAA Rating: R (For strong bloody violence, a scene of violent sexual content, language and some graphic nudity)