The Hateful Eight is one of the wildest, weirdest westerns I’ve ever seen. It’s great by the way and Tarantino’s eighth film to boot.
Centered around unsavory characters, the story to me seemed to be a story about karma or what-goes-around-comes-around, however you choose to phrase it. Regardless, each person in this fateful tale is revealed to be a pretty terrible person. The only exceptions are the side characters who are basically just victim fodder for the bad asses and all the main players here are bad asses.
While the film is nearly 3 hours long, it’s not mired in any way by Tarantino’s dialog which can be notoriously wordy (see Jackie Brown). This time, the stories within the story break things up while filling history in so the pace has broad, drawn out moments along with shorter bursts that keep things moving along nicely. It’s greatly balanced throughout.
Visually the film is gorgeous. Open, epic vistas, and wondrous mountains along a snowy drape across the whole thing make up the exteriors while the interior takes place mainly in Millie’s Haberdashery which has its own distinct identity. Great effects too, the confrontations come off with great authenticity.
The actors are what really make this movie work for me. They’re amazing to watch. Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell are both good but they’re doing what they do. The performances that were really just amazing to watch were by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, and Walton Goggins. All three of them brought passionate, interesting, compelling roles to life in a way that was captivating to watch. Leigh and Roth are especially nuanced in their deliveries. Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Demian Bichir, and James Parks round out the cast.
If you’re a Tarantino fan and/or dig westerns, this one is up your alley.
reviewed by Sean McKnight