'The Hateful Eight' Review

It is the return of Quentin Tarantino on the big screen after three years. This time with almost three hours of content for us to chew over and an entire roadshow event surrounding it. Yes, 'The Hateful Eight' experience is quite an amazing one.

It's not exactly news that Quentin Tarantino is one of the most fun filmmakers working today. 'Django Unchained' was scene after scene of terrific setups and payoffs, through dialogue and clever scenarios utilizing the characters well. If there's one thing Tarantino does well, it's create individual scenes that work tremendously as clips on YouTube. 'The Hateful Eight' is different, but for the most part fits right in and is the best western since... well, 'Django Unchained'. It did have such classics like 'A Million Ways To Die in the West' and 'The Ridiculous 6' to surpass, which naturally it pulled off before it even entered production but I do want to make sure I emphasize this, 'The Hateful Eight' may not be better than 'Django Unchained' - but it is however one of the best movies of 2015. Whether or not that is a statement I will hold to in the future is something we'll have to wait to find out but as of right now; I thoroughly enjoyed this movie both times I saw it and I expect I would enjoy it just as much if I saw it again. The one nagging issue is by this point, Quentin Tarantino is going to have to shake up some things if he wants his style to work again in his next film because it is getting kind of predictable at this point.

The very second I heard Kurt Russell was in the film I got really excited to know I'd get to see him in another Tarantino film, or hell, another movie. He is a really great and fun actor and used really well in 'The Hateful Eight' as Jon Ruth the hang man. Russell's over the top performance makes the character of the most memorable in the film. Thankfully though, he's not the only one, the main reason this movie works as well as it does is, there isn't just one character that stands out out of these hateful eight - they all do. Samuel L. Jackson gives probably his best performance since 'Pulp Fiction' (he really should've been nominated), Walton Goggins has a really fun role and probably plays the only character that has anything resembling a character arc. Jennifer Jason Leigh is very deserving of the best supporting actress nomination she got at the Oscars. Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Demi├ín Bichir, Bruce Dern... they are all memorable and play ver well realized characters by an absolutely killer script by Tarantino. 

Anyone who paid any kind of attention to the film knows it was shot in 70mm and if at all possible, that is definitely the way to see it. I highly doubted I would get the chance, but I did and it was one of the most fun movie experiences I had the whole year. The most interesting aspect of Tarantino using this format for The Hateful Eight is just how confined the whole thing is. For a large chunk of it we're stuck in a tiny cabin - and yet it's shot with a ridiculously wide lens. It functions as a very nice contrast and is arguable the most interesting directiorial effort of his career so far. It helps establish the layout of the room and it constantly forces Tarantino and Robert Richardson (cinematographer) to come up with interesting shots to prevent the confined space of getting dull to look at, which it never is. All the shots are very well composed and because of the 70mm, they could really get in close to each actor's faces but still have enough room to progress the story with things happening in the background, it just works.

The main problem with 'The Hateful Eight' is what I alluded to earlier on. This is yet another Tarantino movie that just ends in a bloody mess, and by that I mean a literal bloody mess. I was hoping it would go in a more interesting direction with all these characters and completely subvert what you'd expect at this point, but there just had to be exploding heads and a comical amount of blood.

Overall thought, 'The Hateful Eight' is a film that is a lot of fun to watch if you like dialogue driven narratives. It's not his strongest effort, but I would put it in the upper half of his filmography. The 70mm theatrical experience was one I won't forget anytime soon.

- Lucas


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