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As The Hateful Eight was a victim of a scenario leak and hacking, this new creation from the brilliant screenwriter Quentin Tarantino may have never been released. However, Tarantino doesn’t give up so easily and The Hateful Eight has finally arrived in cinemas worldwide; to the great delight of some of his fans and the strong displeasure of others.
As a real film lover, Tarantino has taken the habit of paying tributes to different film genres in all of his movies. In this one, he chose to commemorate the glorious years of western films. The title, The Hateful Eight, for example, is somewhat reminiscent of the legendary films: The Magnificent Seven or The Dirty Dozen.
The film takes place in the middle of winter, deep in the American West. While a snow storm is brewing up, the bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) tries to reach the small town of Red Rock, where the woman he just captured, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), will be judged and hung for her crimes. On the road, he comes across the Major Marquis Warrens (Samuel L.Jackson), a former Northern soldier turned bounty hunter, and a Southern apostate, Chris Mannix, who claims to be the new Sheriff of Red Rock. Despite John’s wariness, the two of them join in his journey to survive. In order to protect themselves from the blizzard, they stop at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a shack where they find four unknown people. What should have been a safe stop and respite, soon turns into a long and tense showdown.
Undeniably, many parts of the film are signature Tarantino. All of the ingredients that have made his work unique are to be found in it. Many of his previous actors (Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Michael Marsden) appear, to which some new faces have been added, such as Channing Tatum. The film divides into chapters, with flashbacks and a methodically chosen soundtrack, composed by the inimitable Ennio Morricone. The vulgar language and dark humour and the musical score all serve to heighten the crescendo of the slow-burning showdown at the cabin.
The main arc of the film takes place behind closed doors, within the four walls of a tiny room. The tension is palpable from the beginning. Tarantino took the decision to shoot The Hateful Eight on old-fashioned 70mm film to increase the oppressiveness of the room and the intensity of the plot.
Did the trick work?
Unfortunately, no, it is not enough. Cinematography alone cannot save this project.
The film suffers from overly drawn out sequences and the dialogue is far from being the punchy stuff we are used to from Tarantino. The first chapters, where the characters are introduced, gets you bored to tears, until the real action begins and you are plunged in endless bloodshed. Heads are blown off, arms are torn off, vomit or blood splattered everywhere – this is a terrible spectacle in which Tarantino provides his most violent film to date.
And what for?
I haven’t a clue.
Nothing remarkable comes out of the plot. It’s a dull and repetitive version of the Ten Little Niggers written by Agatha Christie, with the exception of the end results. The theme of racism, with the American Civil War as a foundation, is tackled, but not sufficiently in-depth, which is regrettable. It could have brought some sense to all of the foolishness in this film.
For my first film of the year, The Hateful Eight has been a long and bloodthirsty disappointment. Despite superior casting and some memorable performances, Tarantino has failed to create a film as captivating and catchy as we have come to expect with the likes of Kill Bill or Inglorious Basterds.
The Hateful Eight is well… hateful, and a true disappointment.
Elodie Cure is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter: @Elodie_Cure
An overly violent film that doesn’t do justice to the skills of its Director.