What can be said of the Hateful Eight that hasn't been said about every other Quentin Tarantino movie ever made. Tarantino is a one trick pony and really hasn't made anything original since Pulp Fiction. That might be hard for some people to swallow but it is the truth and we all know it. That is not to say that his movies aren't entertaining, they are but so are YouTube clips of dogs chasing their tails. Anyone can be entertained by cheap violence and over-the-top cursing but that doesn't mean that just because we continue to watch that somehow what we are watching is a quality movie.
Tarantino is a niche director and plays to a certain group of fans. Most of those fans are young males who for one reason or another associate bloody action with excellent movies. Tarantino has made a living off of appealing to this certain group of die-hard fans, while keeping the mass of dissenters at bay.
If you are a fan of Tarantino's previous works then The Hateful Eight should be right up your alley. It is packed full of salty language and random violent outbursts. Tarantino perfectly captures the western setting that he was trying to portray, while at the same time introducing star-studded individual characters who intertwine nicely with this period piece blood fest.
The tension between these unruly houseguests keeps what is taking place on-screen interesting and at times, bearable. Especially since the movie is close to three hours long. The whole film feels like one long game of the game Clue as the viewer is just as unaware of what is going to take place next as the characters are. The suspense lasts till the credits begins to roll, even when the story seems to stall or repeat itself.
While the suspense keeps the viewers entertained, the horror is really where you get the bang for your buck. Yes, I know what you are saying, this isn't supposed to be a horror film, right? Wrong. The brewing hostility between the cabin's trapped inhabitants brings out the monsters in sane men. Watching them slowly become unraveled is not only disturbing, it is downright horrifying.
The movie is broke into chapters with each segment specifically dealing with a certain aspect of the overall story. The strength of The Hateful Eight is primarily in the brilliance of its main cast who lead the story in the direction they wish to take it, not the other way around. Dialogue along with varying degrees of acting that ranged from decent to outstanding are essential, especially since the story primarily takes place within a cabin. Each character performs his or her job more than adequately but really, what else would you expect from the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth and Kurt Russell.
While this movie does have many good qualities, it unfortunately, has more things to hate than like. The one thing in the very beginning that you will notice and probably hate is that the movie starts off at an unusually slow pace. It is over thirty minutes in before we actually get to some entertainment. The carriage ride that begins the movie seems never-ending and while the reason for these long drawn out scenes is understandable as it does introduce vital characters, it really could have been drastically shortened, while at the same time accomplishing the goal of creating the setting.
Abuse is a common trend in Tarantino's films but this movie takes it to a whole new level. Jennifer Jason Leigh who plays the role of a captured fugitive being brought to justice by a bounty hunter is constantly being beat, threatened or worse throughout the film. After three hours of watching her being tortured by countless men, you will surely leave the theater wondering what on Earth does Tarantino have going on inside of his head that would make him think that any of this is appropriate. None of it really had the added affect that he was going for as all it did was make you feel pity for a character you were supposed to loathe. Add all of that with having one of the main male characters proudly speak about how he tortured and orally raped another man to that man's father is past the point of shocking and borders on despicable.
One of the strangest parts of the film was when Channing Tatum made the briefest of appearances. Why did Channing Tatum agree to be in this movie when he played such a small part? It felt odd seeing an A-list celebrity being reduced to nothing more than a background character. Not only was his role small but his character wasn't properly fleshed out enough for people to understand why he was even on-screen.
Probably the most unexpected appearance in the movie wasn't by an actor or actress but instead, was Tarantino's political views. it wasn't his views necessarily that made it feel awkward, it was how forceful he presented those views within a context and setting that just didn't fit. It was so out of place and uncalled for that it ruined a few scenes. Tarantino has every right to put his political or social views into his own movies but he has to pick his spots a little better to get the desired effect he was hoping for. Besides, nobody pays money to go to a theater just so they can be preached to about the evils of white males. Especially from a director who uses the N-word over a hundred times in every one of his movies.
The Hateful Eight is thrilling at times but just takes too long to get into the heart of the movie. In the end, there was too much dialogue and not enough action. For those who like cheap bloody thrills this is the movie for you but for the rest of us, there are too many good movies out at the moment to waste our time on this one.