The Hateful Eight

Final Rating: 8.3/10

The Intro: Chapter 1

The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film

Eight characters

Two locations

Two formats of release

The latter having two parts with one intermission

One review from me

Divided into eight subsequent parts

The Carriage Into Town: Chapter 2

Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight took some beatings before it finally got released. The script leaked, and Tarantino swore to not release what was to be his eighth film. After a script reading done with a possible cast, Tarantino was back on board. His revised cast (featured below) signed on to film in freezing weather and confrontational 70mm film. Actors like Bruce Dern have mentioned that it was both the coldest set they have worked on and the one that was the most unforgiving; You had to be on point at all times because of the wide ratio being captured. If you were off beat, you’d be exposed. Everybody, despite having to focus during chillng temperatures, did well despite this. The bigger problems happened after filming, where Tarantino was labelled as a cop hater after he gave a speech at a Black Lives Matter rally. This film had a boycott movement (including many police firms). Aside from that, the limited roadshow release (shown in 70mm and featuring an intermission) had some of its own issues. There were instances where the film caught fire, stopped working or simply never got delivered to the requested theater. With all of these build ups aside, we have arrived to our feature, which is the part that matters the most. Step off of the carriage, now.

The Characters: Chapter 3

1. Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson): A lone wolf that fears very little and has the patience of a flea. Also known as “The Bounty Hunter”

2. John Ruth (Kurt Russell): A mustached bounty hunter known as the “Hangman” who loves to see his captures squirm at the end of a noose. He’s as slimy as he sounds.

3. Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh): “The Prisoner” who plays stupid and uncontrollable but is truly the mastermind of the film. You wouldn’t know it with her cackle, black eye and vulture stare.

4. Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins): The shaky excuse of the new “Sheriff” who is chomping at the bit to make his first claims. He’s as savage as he is cowardly.

5. Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth): The thickly accented “Little Man” who prances around the key location as if he owns the bloody place. Things get richer with him on screen.

6. Joe Gage (Michael Madsen): This gruffly voiced “Cow Puncher” sits, glances and remarks. He is the silent type waiting to strike at any second.

7. Bob (Demián Bichir): The “Mexican” cloaked in a hat and poncho that makes himself out there via his presence but is discrete in his identity.

8. General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern): The veteran “Confederate” that slinks into his chair and barely utters a word unless he is given a darn good reason.

The Story: Part 4 (Partial Spoilers)

Tarantino has created stories that have been out of order before. The Hateful Eight is his first film to follow this formula in the most straightforward of ways. It is chronological for the most part but will revert back to previous events in such a way that you can see events from the perspectives of other characters. This is a Western mystery that takes place either on the road to Minnie’s Haberdashery or at the actual haberdashery. We have eight loons– all rancid in their own right– locked up in the creaking building during a pummeling snowstorm. In terms of the dialogue, it’s classic Tarantino. There are quick-as-revolver one liners, an avalanche of derogatory terms, and the kind of shooting-the-shit that only he can pull off without it seeming like pandering. Plot wise, it’s Tarantino’s first literary mystery. Sure, he’s had revealing information slowly get brought to life in other films (especially Reservoir Dogs), but this film plays like a sick case of Clue. There’s more than one death. You can see most of the culprits. You just have to solve why this is happening. 

The Aesthetics: Chapter 5

One of the strongest saving graces of this claustrophobic campfire story is how lovely the film looks and sounds. Cinematography extraordinaire Robert Richardson is back, and 70mm is where he flourishes. The opening credits shot of a frozen wooden statue of Jesus on the cross is great enough, but the pulling out that shows a huge snowy wasteland behind him is classic Western magic. It’s sinister and damning, and we know how the film will be right away. The shots of the room where every person cowers in the corner like a rat are played off magnificently. You are trapped in a small structure, but you have the ability to scan the room with a near fish-eye lens. You can exploit the hell out of this opportunity! Ennio Morricone, who was misrepresented by the media as a man who swore to never work with Tarantino again, is back here with his first full Western score in four decades. It is a harsh score that stomps around and judges the scene with scorn. It is as slick as it is vicious. This score has less to do with the glorious wild west than it has to do with the deepest pits of human hatred that are found within it. Both Richardson and Morricone made The Hateful Eight a seething Western, alright.

The Twists (spoiler heavy): Chapter 6

These are what add some flare to the story. We have some interesting factors that really toss a wrench into the mechanics of each characters’ selfish plans. We have the murders of other characters that are either in full view or are discrete and have to be solved. We have characters that appear before the forbidden night, through flasbacks or that wind up within the main story from out of nowhere. This includes a surprisingly captivating turn from Channing Tatum, who I oddly enough wish was in the film even more. Strong characters become weak, and weak characters end up being the chess piece controllers from the very start. For a mystery that takes place in one key spot and lasts around three hours, these are the flames that keep the engine running outside of the colourful dialogue.

The Cons: Chapter 7

This ride is Tarantino’s slowest for sure. While that is not a bad quality, it definitely shows what makes Tarantino’s best work have staying power well after you view the film. It’s punchy in the moment, but you leave the film on a calm note; “Oh, that’s a nice way to end. Charming.”. There aren’t any big bangs that work really well in any Tarantino film. There is a septic tank of a bloodbath that is filthy and grimy, but even then you end peacefully; Not in a way that feels glorious, calming and sweet, but in a way that simply just wraps up the film. Because of this resolution of a film full of explosive despise and the fact that it is his least-jumpy film, The Hateful Eight will be an adventure that will please you but will not beg for you to return. It’s as though whatever happened in the haberdashery stayed there, and I would have definitely wanted a more bold finale to what could have been a great Tarantino suspense thriller.

The Aftermath: Chapter 8

Well, there are a few key things that can be taken away. The sounds and visuals are terrific. The dialogue is hilarious and highly jarring. Jennifer Jason Leigh is fantastic in this role, and everyone else involved can be ranged from “pretty good” to “highly notable” (L. Jackson, Russell, Goggins, Dern and Bichir can be found in the latter category). The violence is over the top and entertaining. The suspense as it develops is electrifying. Sure, it won’t end up being Tarantino’s masterpiece that Brad Pitt’s character proclaimed at the end of Inglourious Basterds (now THAT is an ending), but it’s still a Quentin Tarantino film; The guy can make a movie about a poodle both exciting and offensive. The Hateful Eight took some time to get here and had many of its own struggles, but it’s still a fun night out with the most filth ridden friends you have. 

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.