Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson

Author

As expected, it’s violent, dialogue-driven, and filled with two-faced characters. But for a film this long, I’m just not sure the story is interesting enough. Not a whole lot happens. A stagecoach picks up a black guy, they go to a cabin, and characters spar with dialogue for a while before a climactic shootout finale. It could have easily been quite a bit shorter. Making it to Red Rock and seeing things play out there would have given the film a more balanced three-act structure and offered more opportunities for beautiful, panoramic vistas.

Tarantino’s regulars turn in great performances with great characters. Jackson and Russell are great. Leigh’s performance might be her best, with her toothless, bloody face being one of the scariest images in recent film history. Goggins shines as a lead, and Tatum nails his minor role. Notably missing is Waltz. Was he too busy on other projects? Or did Tarantino really not have a place for him in this movie? I know ZoĆ« Bell is one of Tarantino’s friends, but her inclusion as a New Zealander is a little distracting. How many New Zealander women really roamed the American west? One thing’s for sure: Tarantino is great at naming his characters.

The photography is epic in scale, undeniably beautiful, exquisitely detailed, but some of its potential is lost by shooting a story that takes place almost exclusively in a stagecoach and a cabin. Morricone’s original score has a classic feel to it. Great that Tarantino got him on this.

I know Tarantino loves his anachronisms, but sometimes they can be distracting. At least one modern song is used in the score, and you have to be careful with that when you’re trying to make a serious period film. And dialogue with words like “pen pal” that didn’t exist in the 1800’s are also distracting.

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