ByJames Wood, writer at
Unabashed Transformers fan. Man crush on Tom Hardy. Avid fan of Tommy Wiseau's cult disasterpiece The Room.
James Wood

Tarantino's second western is a terrific time. I prefer his other western Django Unchained, and Kill Bill Vol. 1 is my all time favourite Tarantino film but The Hateful Eight is one of his most entertaining and well told stories! Over the course of a hellish blizzard, a whole host of characters take shelter inside a barn, and tensions rise when new arrivals believe no one is who they say they are.

I want to get one thing across more than anything here and that is Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance. Nominated for best supporting actress but lost to Alicia Vikander, who pretty much was the lead actress in the drama The Danish Girl, not supporting. Jennifer Jason Leigh deserved this award, her performance here is absolutely marvellous and so funny. I think this is her career best and one of the most brilliantly twisted performances in years. The menacing grin she pulls brings big belly laughs, especially when she smiles during bursts of violence. Her accent is flawless, she is such a fascinatingly messed up character and I just wish she'd won the Oscar, I'd even go as far to say she has been robbed of the award. The monologue and rant she goes on when covered in brains and blood all over her face sees her up her game even further.

An Oscar worthy performance!
An Oscar worthy performance!

Walton Goggins and Tim Roth are very funny and gleefully entertaining. Kurt Russell, the legendary actor, in my opinion, once again knocks it out the park as John Ruth "The Hangman". Michael Madsen, if underused, is sly and really cool. Samuel L. Jackson is a blast to watch, boasting his usual attitude and flair. Bruce Dern and Channing Tatum make welcome appearances each hiding secrets and surprises, and then Zoe Bell is absolutely brilliant as the sweet Six Horse Judy who is so charming and a likeable character despite it being a small part.

Ennio Morricone's score is alright but honestly, nothing special. The score named "L'Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock" is a standout, as is "I Quattro Passeggeri", this score stirs the atmosphere and is very brooding. Everything else though is rather forgettable, considering it was an Oscar winner, I still believe that Junkie XL's score for Mad Max Fury Road deserved to be nominated and a winner.

The cinematography is stunning, the wide shots of the snowy landscapes are so interesting to look at considering how plain and sprawling snow covered land can be. Inside the barn, tight close ups and wide shots of the cast interacting are fully enveloping and the lighting is very stylised and pure Tarantino, with the spotlight in the barn highlighting the very centre of the story, and also highlighting where Tatum's character has been hiding the entire time.

As always, Tarantino's dialogue and story passes by at a great pace. I loved the moment that Jackson and Russell's characters meet. All of Roth's parts are delightfully British and the quotes are awesome, especially Jackson's "You're starting to see pictures ain't ya?". However, I felt the pace died down when the "Eight" share a meal, although Jennifer Jason Leigh keeps the humour going and is the bright spot in these slower parts.

The violence is spectacular in its short bursts. When characters start vomiting blood it comes as a shock yet it's shockingly funny, and all the head shots and bullets to the body hit hard and the arterial spray is ridiculously over the top and awesome, but for a Quentin Tarantino flick it's rather reserved than usual, but I like the fact that the film is driven by characters more than violence.

I'd recommend his latest Western film. Quentin Tarantino continues to make entertaining, compelling and violent films. I think now he should either make Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair or get the ball rolling with this 30's gangster flick, as it'd be nice to see him flex his muscles in a different genre, or continue telling the story of The Bride. Rating: 7.5


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