The Hateful Eight – Movie Review

Tarantino’s 8th is great!

Thanks to Roadshow Films we got to attend the Australian premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s latest film ‘The Hateful Eight’. This is our review, but as usual we recommend to go and see it yourself at your local cinema. However, if you get the chance to see it in 70mm then make sure you do so!

hateful_2A stagecoach ploughs through the snowy landscape of Wyoming during wintertime. Inside are John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), on their way to Red Rock where she’ll be facing her death sentence. Along the way they pick up two hitchhikers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), who is an old acquaintance of John, and a man by the name of Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock. As a blizzard erupts, the four passengers and the driver take shelter in a big cabin by the name of Minnie’s Haberdashery. There they encounter four more travelers (Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and Demian Bichir). John doesn’t trust it one bit and suspects at least one of the persons in there is not who he says he is.

Tarantino’s eigth movie is not just a western but also an old fashioned ‘whodunit?’’. The director stated his main inspirations were the 1982 version of ‘The Thing‘, and his own 1992 debut movie ‘Reservoir Dogs‘. That sounds ambitious but low and behold, he’s pulled it off. ‘The Hateful Eight’ has the snow, the gore, the paranoia and of course the lead actor from ‘The Thing’ combined with the dialogue, the storytelling and the suspense of movie ‘Reservoir Dogs’, along with two of its main actors (Michael Madsen and Tim Roth).

hateful_3If ‘Django Unchained‘ was a bit too much for you, then you’ll most likely enjoy ‘The Hateful Eight’ a lot more. The violence in Django got downright nasty, whereas here it is ludicrously grotesque and over the top, and often used for comical effect. A lot of jokes involve Daisy Donoghue getting punched in the face, which has been interpreted by critics as misogyny. The abuse however is not because she is a woman, but because she is a smartass that knows how to nag people. Notwithstanding the fact that Jason Leigh absolutely nails her role, this character could have just as easily been male (it actually could have been a great part for Steve Buscemi, another Reservoir Dogs-actor). These critics also seem to have forgotten that when Tarantino made ‘Kill Bill’, he introduced us to The Bride, the first female action hero tough enough to hold her own against any John McClane or John Rambo out there.

hateful_4The whole cast is great, but the standouts are the four passengers we meet first, who also have the biggest roles. The screenplay is great as you’d expect from Tarantino, but you can tell that this story was originally designed as a stage play. It is hard to imagine though that the director initially didn’t even want to turn the play into a movie (apparently Samuel L. Jackson had to convince him), especially when you see how amazing it looks in 70mm. This makes the snowy landscapes (filmed in Telluride, Colorado) look even more breathtaking, so if you get the chance to see it in this format, then rest assured it’s well worth forking out the extra eight or so dollars to see it in this glorious format.

hateful_1The only weak point is that the build-up takes too long, a feat that also plagued ‘Inglourious Basterds’ with its two overlong cafe scenes. After a great first act in the stagecoach, the film slows down once the characters arrive at Minnie’s and try to get to know one another. After this slow mid-piece the movie catches up steam when Major Warren starts telling the most revolting story with the utmost of glee. Right after this monologue the third act kicks in (the 70 mm version has a 12 minute interlude in between though), and as expected in a Tarantino movie this finale is a no holds barred bloodbath. The fast-paced final act more than makes up for the slow second act, but ‘The Hateful Eight’ could have been a masterpiece if it would have been 20 to 30 minutes shorter, and that makes the difference between a four star and a five star movie. By comparison, the very similar ‘Reservoir Dogs’ would not have been the masterpiece it is if it would have been 187 minutes long instead of 99 minutes. That said, ‘The Hateful Eight’ is a must-see for every Tarantino-fan, and if you thought Basterds was a bit too boring and/or Django was a bit too violent then you’ll be even happier with this old-style Tarantino-movie.

The film will open nationally on January 21st, but it is already showing in the 70 mm-format in six select cinemas (Cremorne Orpheum, Event George Street, and Randwick Ritz in Sydney, and The Astor, The Sun Theater and The Rivoli in Melbourne) For more information see: