Review: The Hateful Eight
It’s evident that this fantasy western ‘whodunit’ film was created for the big screen, and it would be a huge shame for anyone to not experience it in that way, as our reviewer Jenny Edwards reiterates this…
If ‘Django Unchained’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs’ were to ever have a baby, that baby would be in the form of Quentin Tarantino’s new masterpiece: ‘The Hateful Eight’. Like some of his other films, (e.g. ‘Django’ and ‘Inglorious Bastards’), Tarantino skilfully turns history into an alternate fantasy, as he sculpts a post civil war society. Through this, we get a great insight on Tarantino’s version of the Old West. ‘The Hateful Eight’ could easily be regarded as Tarantino’s most visually striking film, parading a perfect fusion of snowy super wide-angle landscape shots juxtaposed with intimate and intense close ups of characters.
The advantage of the wide-angle shots allow for the audience to keep their eye on each character in the majority of the scenes which unfold inside a claustrophobic lodge setting. Being able to witness the characters’ reactions to situations, and behavior all at the same time makes for an amazing thriller- as well as giving a great sense of realism. The various activity going on in some of the scenes are even worth giving the film a second watch, just to focus on the finer details in the background.
The movie boasts similarities to ‘Reservoir Dogs’, in the way that we are introduced to a group of terribly bad people, in a small and isolated setting. As the snowstorm outside continues, their tensions within the lodge heighten, as do their suspicions of each other. Like most of Tarantino’s films, ‘The Hateful Eight’ has a slow plot progression (with the first hour generally establishing the setting and some of the main characters’ stories) and yet, it never drags. He did not disappoint with his reputation for perfecting lengthy scenes, heavy with dialogue. If you enjoy films where action and excitement is constantly occurring – ‘The Hateful Eight’ is probably not the film for you. The sometimes-outrageous discourse, and excessive use of racial slurs prove that Tarantino can really get away with just about anything. The likable, strong character of Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) cancels out any opportunity to mindlessly accuse Tarantino of needless racism.
On the topic of un-constructive criticism, there was backlash concerning anti-heroine Daisy Domergue’s (Jennifer Jason Leigh) mistreatment throughout the film; critics and other audiences have regarded it as the successful writer and director being a misogynist (a word that Tarantino is no stranger to being referred as). It could be argued, he is responsible for creating some of the most amazing and empowering roles for female actresses in the movie industry. (Are critics forgetting about ‘Kill Bill’?) Daisy Domergue is depicted as a leader, and no matter how much she is maltreated by her capture, John Ruth, (Kurt Russell) she never shows signs of defeat.
You could perhaps say that the film is somewhat dumbed down at the end, due to the arguably senseless bloodbath, but would it be a true Quentin Tarantino film if it didn’t have the carnage and violence? I think not.