The Hateful Eight Movie Review
The Hateful Eight is a 2015 western mystery film directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins. It isn’t one of the director’s best works, but it definitely is a very good movie.
It follows eight strangers who seek refuge in a stagecoach lodge. This film has a very interesting structure. First of all, it is very episodic and is divided by chapters, but that works wonderfully. It also has an intermission and is overall filmed in an old-fashioned way which I appreciated a lot and was such a great nod to the classics. The running time is around three hours and it is never at all boring which is an incredible achievement having in mind its length.
But I loved how in the first half not much happens and it is all just a build-up to the action-filled second half. But it works as it is never tedious, but strengthens the character development and relationships between the characters and it has such a great attention to detail which is one of the film’s strongest points. I loved the beginning and I loved how it ended, but that whole first half to me was the finest as it is so incredible and so involving whereas the second half has its many problems, but more on that later.
I loved the characters in The Hateful Eight as all of them have their moments and all are very well realized. Major Warren has to be the highlight as he is such a fun, likable character. He’s a great Tarantino protagonist – heroic, but also realistic. Chris Mannix is also superb and is one of the funniest of the bunch. The relationship between the two is absolutely fantastic with the film’s last moments being really good. John Ruth is also excellent and the most realistic character here. Daisy is such a crazy woman and a very unique and interesting character, especially for a western. Bob is somewhat underused as this mysterious Mexican man, but he’s still pretty good and at times quite creepy. Oswaldo Mobray is too theatrical, but still fun and at times funny. Joe Gage is the weakest link whereas General Sanford is quite good and the scenes between him and Warren are so good. And others are not that important for the story.
The acting is magnificent and one of the movie’s biggest selling points. Kurt Russell is very good, but it is Walton Goggins who is the most underappreciated actor here as he gave such a stupendous performance and was always believable. Jennifer Jason Leigh is of course fantastic as she steals every scene she is in and is believable in this difficult role of a crazy and wild murderous woman. And her facial expressions are excellent. But to me, she isn’t the highlight. Samuel L. Jackson is the best one here and is so underrated as an actor and especially in this role which just might be his best yet. He is the protagonist here and has the most screen time and delivers with a fantastic, all-around satisfying performance with a contagious laughter and many great moments.
Now for the flaws. Unfortunately, the second half ruined this movie for me. Quentin Tarantino is a fantastic director and here he shows his great style and superb storytelling, but he needs some restraint as his annoying tendency to go into overly disgusting territory hurts his movies a lot. The action here is very entertaining and satisfying, but there was no need for that much blood and gore. It was excessive, inappropriate and just weird and tonally different from the rest of the movie. This is quite possibly his darkest and most brutal film to date and I appreciate that when characters are concerned, but the imagery was too gruesome and just unnecessary and way over-the-top. The whole movie felt like a beautiful mix of western and mystery until it just went into this stupid horror territory which greatly diminished its impact.
The Hateful Eight is absolutely gorgeous to watch. The cinematography is superb and the scenery is so good. I wish that more westerns were set in winter as that period is just phenomenal for the genre. The attention to detail here is overwhelming which greatly helps its mystery which is really well crafted. And although I predicted a lot of the twists and turns here, they were still so well realized and the build-up is terrific. The set design is also splendid and Minnie’s Haberdashery just might be one of the best interior in a film ever as it is so incredible, very realistically depicted and with great detail and style. The whole flick is very polished and stylish with a superb direction and acting and excellent screenplay. It is also very well edited with the chapter times and flashbacks being extremely well handled.
Of course, the dialogue is absolutely fantastic as is always the case with Tarantino’s films. It is so grounded in reality and meticulous in its delivery and accents while also being very playful and humorous. The humor is expectedly terrific and I laughed out loud a lot during the movie as most of the characters have their funny lines and the racist remarks in particular are so funny. The score disappointed me a lot. It is definitely good and even great at times, but it is incorporated poorly into the picture with often ridiculously accompanied and jarring in tone sequences. The tone is well handled and professional, the film is visually stunning and it is memorable and always entertaining with never a dull moment. It is inferior to the director’s previous works as both ‘Django Unchained‘ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’ are better, but it is still very good and despite having some big issues, it is mostly great to watch. Quentin Tarantino knows how to make a western and I hope he will continue to do so.