The Hateful Eight Movie Review
Quention Tarantino is back doing his Quentin Tarantino thing, so obsessed with nostalgia that he insisted the film be released first on 70mm film and with such annoying things like forcing the audience to suffer through an overture (those things went away for a reason, Quentin) and extending the running time with an intermission, because why the fuck not, “I’m Quentin Tarantino.” The thing is, as usual, his 8th film, The Hateful Eight, is still pretty goddamn good.
Tarantino’s second western in a row after the excellent Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight is a three-hour epic that primarily consists of a bunch of people speaking like cowboys, debating who is innocent and who is there to kill each other. But since it’s written by Tarantino, The Hateful Eight is also three-hours of deliciously fun dialogue.
The cast is terrific all-around, but it’s Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell who absolutely kill their roles. Jackson, in a completely different role from what he played in Django, chomps scenery left and right in glorious fashion, and Russell does the same. But Walton Goggins is absolutely hilarious, Jennifer Jason Leigh is gleefully hateful and Bruce Dern is spot-on.
The movie is long--probably 15 or 20 minutes too long, if not 45, given the story--as Tarantino gets so caught up with his writing and staging and everything else. Just because you can make a long movie doesn’t mean you need to, and there are areas that could have been trimmed for pacing (or a flashback “chapter” that offers no surprises but plenty of violence). Nonetheless, the writing and acting is so sharp throughout you’re never bored, and often quite the opposite. Each scene is a blast in its own way, often dripping with humor or tension or violence or some wickedly fun combination of the three.
The Hateful Eight isn’t Tarantino’s best movie--his obsession with being Tarantino errs on the side of hubris at times--but few if any writers/directors can make movies like this and pull it off. He does--The Hateful Eight is bloody fun, and easily one of the best movies of the year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.