For some moviemakers, there comes a point in their careers where people blindly follow and support whatever it is that they make. The Hateful Eight is proof that people have drunk the Quentin Tarantino Kool-Aid and happily hail him as a “can’t miss” filmmaker.
With that, The Hateful Eight is an overrated, ego driven narrative that is offensive, a little boring and uneventful. To be perfectly honest, it almost feels like Quentin Tarantino has lost his cinematic edge with this one.
First of all, it is nearly three hours long, a length that I argue only happens when directors are more driven by their own need to see their work on screen than including plots that push the story forward. There are scenes that can stand to be tremendously cut. For instance, the opening where the camera slowly zooms out from a statue of a cross for nearly, no lie, seven minutes, could have been done in one. Too many scenes like this easily added 3o minutes or more to the length.
Secondly, there’s too much exposition. I get that in his films the plots are intricate which usually makes for a great twist at the end, but The Hateful Eight has too much of it. And the way in which he chose to go about relaying it to us makes is all the harder to understand and care about.
Thirdly, and this is a big one for me, Quentin Tarantino, once again takes his liberty with the word “nigga” or “nigger” as most of the white people in the movie say. I don’t think this is ever truly appropriate for non-people of color and the number of times his characters use it is staggering. I am sure that every time Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character Daisy Domergue speaks she says, “nigger” and that gets tiresome. In fact, every other word out of the mouths of all the characters, except Samuel L. Jackson, is “nigger.” I don’t like that.
Along with the overt usage of that word, there is way too much violence against women in the film. Furthermore, critics who claim that calling out the misogyny in the movie is “Fishing for stupidity” needs to check the meaning of the word. Literally, every time the male characters speak to Daisy, they call her a bitch, speak down to her or hit her, in the face, hard. There is no end. It’s hard to watch, and it begs the question for me is really necessary to tell the story. The answer to that is a resounding and obvious no.
That’s the biggest issue with The Hateful Eight. Most of the things that Tarantino chooses to include in the film are not necessary to tell the story; a story that is lackluster at best and one that unfolds entirely too slow.
The only thing that I can think of as to the reason people have regarded the film so highly is because it is Tarantino, but my problem with that is the oxymoron that exists between what he claims to stand for in reality and what he puts in this films. He is a badass that claps back at the system by marching with common folk to protest a police state but yet he puts outstandingly offensive situations, characters, and plots in his films.
Now, I am a fan of his, for the most part, in that I know when I go to see a Tarantino film, there will be gore, and crazy situations and a usually somewhat satisfying ending. But The Hateful Eight does not deliver on any of those. Especially the end.
Comprised of a hanging and a reading of a letter that was already found to be a fake correspondence from President Abraham Lincoln to Marquis Warren (Jackson) earlier in the film, I just didn’t get it. In fact, I don’t get a lot of things in The Hateful Eight, which is why it feels like more of homage to the filmmakers’ affinity for the outlandish than anything else.
Aside from those things, the plot is merely okay. I kept waiting for “it.” You know the thing that happens that propels the movie into the conclusion, but it never came. Alas, I found myself waiting for the film to be over.
As far as the actors are concerned, Tim Roth did an excellent job, and Samuel L. Jackson was his typical “hardest working man in Hollywood” self. The other actors played their parts well. The only person I wasn’t feeling was Channing Tatum, and that’s because I personally don’t consider him a good actor. I mean, he’s okay looking, has an incredible body, but his thespian ability or rather lack thereof rarely moves me. Quentin Tarantino films call for a certain level of acting chops that Tatum doesn’t have.
Most people will see the movie and probably love it because of the name attached to it, but the truth of the matter is The Hateful Eight is just mediocre. I give it a 2 ½ out of 5 stars.
Film Review: ‘The Hateful Eight’
Reviewed at Gaumont Marignan, Paris, Dec. 4, 2015. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 187 MIN.
PRODUCTION: A Weinstein Co. release and presentation of a Band Apart production. Produced by Richard N. Gladstein, Stacey Sher, Shannon McIntosh. Executive producers, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Georgia Kacandes.
CREW: Directed, written by Quentin Tarantino. Camera (color, Ultra Panavision 70 widescreen), Robert Richardson; editor, Fred Raskin; music, Ennio Morricone; music supervisor, Mary Ramos; production designer, Yohei Taneda; supervising art director, Richard L. Johnson; art director, Ben Edelberg; set decorator, Rosemary Brandenburg; costume designer, Courtney Hoffman; sound (Dolby/Datasat), Mark Ulano; supervising sound editors, Wylie Stateman, Harry Cohen; re-recording mixers, Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler; special effects coordinator, Bruno Van Zeebroeck; visual effects designer, John Dykstra; visual effects supervisors, Dan Glass, Troy Moore, Laurent Gillet, Darren Poe; visual effects producers, Lisa Goldberg, Mark Webb, Lisa K. Spence; visual effects, Method Studios, Scanline VFX; special makeup effects, Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger; associate producers, William Paul Clark, Coco Francini; assistant director, Clark; casting, Victoria Thomas.
WITH: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Dana Gourrier, Zoe Bell, Lee Horsley, Gene Jones, Keith Jefferson, Craig Stark, Belinda Owino, Channing Tatum. (English, Spanish dialogue)