“The Hateful Eight” Review: A bloody good time in the West
This seems to be the year of me seeing films by directors or franchises that I have never seen. So this is my first Tarantino film. The Hateful 8 is the latest and eighth film from director Quentin Tarantino, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madson, Kurt Russell, and Walton Goggins.
With a hefty three hour fifteen minute runtime, a built in intermission and seemingly never-ending scenes, this film feels every second of the over three hour runtime. The film opens with an overture set to a black and red horse carriage and mountain scene, long wide shots of landscapes and finally to our main characters. John Ruth (Russell) and Daisy Domergue (Leigh) are traveling with their stage coach driver, OB (James Parks) to Red Rock, Wyoming where John Ruth is to collect the $10,000 bounty for Daisy and see her hang for murder. Their stage coach is racing against the approaching blizzard and must get to Minnie’s Haberdashery before the storm gets them. They come across Captain Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) who is stuck in the storm without a way to Red Rock. After a lengthy scene of John Ruth questioning Captain Warren, he agrees to take him in the coach to Minnie’s.
Along the way, they come across another straggler, Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a former Rebel soldier and a Southern racist. He informs John Ruth that he is to be the new Sheriff of Red Rock and that he must take him there because his horse couldn’t get through the snow and he has no other way. After more talking and accusations that Mannix or Captain Warren are trying to get to Domergue, John Ruth agrees to yet another passenger.
Finally, the group arrives just before the storm to Minnie’s Haberdashery, a small cabin where people could stay on their long travels. However, Minnie wasn’t there. Bob the Mexican (Demien Bichir) greeted them and told them Minnie had gone to her mother’s and he was watching the place. Captain Warren found this to be odd, but kept to himself about it. When given the chance, he questioned Bob. Inside Minnie’s there was an old man who Chris recognized as Chester Charles Smithers, another rebel army member. In the corner, was Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and with Smithers was Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth).
Through the story, the group gets to know each other and begin accusing each other of different motives; whether is it that the stole the property from Minnie, murdered Minnie, are working together to free Domergue, working separately to free Domergue, or just being a terrible racist human being. The film is very violent and vulgar, with anything from body parts blowing off, vomiting blood, to disgustingly visual descriptions of sexual assault. I’m told that this is a classic part of the Tarantino style, so I just chalk it up to that. I don’t appreciate that, so it wasn’t my favorite part of the film.
The story in the film was interesting and intriguing and if it weren’t for that, it would’ve been an incredibly painful film to sit through. There are twists and turns and the story isn’t very predictable. It comments a lot on racism and therefore gets the audience thinking about the role that race is playing in the story. However, the film is definitely too long. Not a whole lot happens in the first part of the film.
What was done well with this film was the cinematography with beautiful shots and colors all throughout the film. The film is mostly comprised of dark hues and colors, typical with the time, but when there is color, particularly red, it is vibrant and beautifully shot. I also really enjoyed the score to the film. It has a very classic yet new feel to it. It fit the time period but wasn’t overly stereotypical.
The acting in the film was superb. All of the characters felt very real and accurate. Samuel L. Jackson was incredible as usual, with every other actor right on his heels with their performances. I’d have to say that my favorite performance was from Sheriff Mannix, played by Walton Goggins. The character at first seems so simplistic and predictable but then develops into something else. He is a big source of humor in the film, but also provides some of the most emotionally touching moments as well. Channing Tatum is in this film, and I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say in what context, but he was by far the weakest. He was in there the shortest amount of time of all the big names in the film and stuck out the most. His character wasn’t very believable. All of the other actors transformed into their various characters, but Tatum was just Channing Tatum in a costume. It is unfortunate because it is a different role than he is used to playing and I hoped he would do well.
Overall, the film is entertaining, but definitely not for people who can’t sit through a long film. The characters are interesting and well acted and the film itself is beautiful.
Rating 7.5/ 10