I’m rounding out the rest of my reviews before I come to the end of 2015 and the Best and Worst movies and video games of the previous year. I attempt to round out the 2015 movies with the latest movie to be added to the Quentin Tarantino oeuvre; The Hateful Eight. This was a movie that I have been looking forward to all year. I love me some Tarantino! I frequently watch Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Inglorious Basterds and will also cite them as some of my all time favorite movies. Considering his recent success with Django Unchained and his consistent love letters to the genres of spaghetti westerns, 1970’s Japanese Samurai films, and various exploitation movies… I do believe it is easy to say that everyone was waiting in anticipation to see the Tarantino’s eighth movie.
Tragically speaking, I do not think the product of The Hateful Eight is going to live up to our expectations. That isn’t to say that the movie is bad. The movie is decent and another Tarantino western, which is never a terrible thing. But all things considered, The Hateful Eight will forever be listed as one of the more forgotten of Tarantino’s movies.
After waving down a carriage in order to be saved from a blizzard, Bounty Hunter and Union Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) joins the carriage of fellow bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell). Ruth, known as the Hangman for letting the hangman do his work instead of killing his bounties, is taking Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to be hanged in the town of Red Rock. Along the way, the group picks up the soon to be Sheriff of Red Rock confederate Captain Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). Mannix and Warren naturally take a disliking to one another with Mannix being a known radical confederate soldier and Warren being a known white man killing Union Major. They find their way to a small place in the middle of nowhere named Minnie’s Haberdashery to hold up for the night. While there they run into a gang on interesting individuals and Ruth comes to suspect that the people of Minnie’s Haberdashery want to free Daisy Domergue.
It is Tarantino and no matter what movie he makes, you can rest assure that the movie will at least be a marvel to look at. The movie is absolutely gorgeous and the snow is striking to the typically brown and dirty style of a western movie. Tarantino decided to go a little old school for this movie and shot it using an old 65mm film reel, to be more specific, Ultra Panavision 70. This film reel has not been used since 1966’s Khartoum, a Laurence Olivier movie!
The film stock gives the movie a more classic look to it and makes it feel like a striking homage of the time that this movie would be popular. The practical effects are great and the blood has a disturbing effect whenever it is shown in such graphic detail. Overall, everything about the cinematography of this movie is great.
Some of the Best Parts in the Movies are the Monologues and Letting the All Star Cast Go
Another thing about a Tarantino movie is that the man gets an absolutely all star cast of tremendous actors. Each and every one of the people in these movies are treats to watch so giving any of them a chance to monologue for the camera means that you are going to get some absolute gems. I have some problems with the Tarantino’s writing and I will get to it in just a moment. But the best parts of this movie is when Tarantino just let’s the actors emote for the camera for minutes on end. Dern, Roth, Russell, and Samuel L Jackson all have stellar moments in this movie where they just talk for minutes on end and you are captivated by the tone of their voice and the glorious story being woven for you.
One of the best moments in the movie is watching the scene unfold in chapter three between General Smithers (Bruce Dern) and Major Warren (Samuel L Jackson). The back and forth dialogue and monologues for each character. It is haunting and downright horrific at the end… But dammit, I do not know a person on this earth that will not be on the edge of their seat for each and every second that those two men are talking.
Poorly Written Story Overall and Unsatisfying Feeling
The worst part of this movie is simply the fact that it does not leave you feeling satisfied. I can get behind a tragic ending, I can understand that. I can understand having anti heroes as your protagonists. I get the moral gray area that we all live in. Hell, I love Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction, the protagonists for both those movies are not exactly the most reputable of human beings. But all things considered, this is just a movie of terrible people doing terrible things, and everyone ending up dead because of it.
I can understand that our protagonist is a bounty hunter, is a dishonored Union Major, and maybe not the nicest of people. If they are being played by Samuel L Jackson, you can assume that he is at least one bad mother fucker. But when your protagonists tells the story of him making a man walk two hours in the cold naked to his death and then forcing him to suck his dick before he dies just to get his father to draw a gun on you so you can shoot him, that is not someone I want as a protagonist. When your other protagonist is a Civil War captain known for slaughtering people and pillaging ‘black towns’, that is someone I do not want as my protagonist. Ultimately I’m left sitting in the movie theater potentially rooting for the villains of the movie. At least they seem somewhat calm, cool, and collected. But even they murder a bunch of people in cold blood for the sake of getting one person free. So fuck them too.
This is just poor story writing altogether. I can understand that this movie is called The Hateful Eight. It says it in the title that these are not going to be the most reputable people or white bread protagonists. But if you make everyone so unlikable that I do not give a rat’s ass whether they live, die, or succeed, then you have failed at telling a story!
This movie is not terrible. It has some decent suspense to it,there is a good ‘whodunnit’ story, the cinematography is great, and it has that Tarantino feel to it. However, due to the fact that the writing for the overall plot is poor and the characters are so unlikable, it makes this movie more akin to Deathproof then Django Unchained. I would say give this movie a watch when it comes out on DVD and get some enjoyment there, but do not pay full price to see it.
Final Score 3/5
Thank you for reading! The Year end reviews will be coming soon as well as a review of SOMA, so keep checking back for more.