So, I’m trying Reviews now, and my first will be Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, The Hateful Eight. Spoilers ahead.
This review comes a little late for some, and a lot late for others. Firstly I would like to say that I’m a little pissed that Quentin Tarantino chose to air what is essentially two different versions of this film; the one he wanted, and the one that would be seen by most of America. His 70mm roadshow viewing of the film contains six extra minutes (Four of which are an overture at the beginning) as well as a 15 minute intermission. Now, the 70mm vs. 35mm or even digital is an argument I don’t feel is worth having, but the real issue I take with this is that he made alterations to the 70mm showing and is only showing it in 44 different cities in the US.
Those who are not privileged enough to live in or near those cities are reduced to seeing what is essentially a sub-par version of his creation. I don’t see any reason why that was something worth doing. Anyway, that’s my disclaimer before the review.
Having said all that, I feel this movie’s intermission is absolutely necessary to the story. The break halfway through is not only the boiling point that you spend the first half waiting to get to, but it perfectly splits the setup from the payoff. To me, it felt a lot like sitting down to play a new, complicated board game. I’m a board game fanatic, so this analogy is appropriate for me. The first half is like setting the pieces, viewing the setting, getting a feel for the theme and learning the rules.
It’s all necessary, and then you get to the point where you understand what’s going on and what needs to happen, and then you’re ready to play, which is where the second half comes in. It wouldn’t be a Tarantino movie if there weren’t a cartoonish amount of blood, but as far as he goes, mostly I found it grotesque as opposed to comical, like the squirting arm in Kill Bill, which is how I want to see bloody moments in movies.
All in all, this film has fantastic dialogue, most of it from Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), whom I love, and Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), whom Tarantino loves. John Ruth (Kurt Russell) did a spot on John Wayne impression, but other than that I didn’t feel like he brought much to the table. His character was constantly explaining his actions, which I thought was a little lazy. O.B. Jackon’s (James Parks) short lifespan and limited dialogue was wonderful.
As much as I love Goggins, I have to say that Damian Bichir stole the goddamn show. Everytime there was a closeup on that man I was grinning ear to ear. His character, perfectly named Bob, was beautifully written and even better acted.
I heard talk during the intermission that the female representation was not very strong, and I disagreed with that sentiment wholeheartedly. Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) seems so badass, especially after getting backhanded and elbowed by Ruth, bleeding from the nose and grinning at Warren in a creepy “I wanna fuck you” kinda way.
So, you’ve heard the good, here’s the bad.
I have a minor issue with the title because it’s called the Hateful Eight, and there were nine people when everyone got to the cabin, so I was able to jump ahead all the way to the intermission in my head and found out long before that someone getting shot was going to bookmark the end of the first half. The issue is minor, because it didn’t change the storytelling much, but that would have been a nice surprise.
My biggest issue in the whole movie is this awful narration that comes from Tarantino after the intermission is over. The fact that he cites what happened 15 minutes prior, even stating “15 minutes ago we saw…” threw me right out of the movie. Up until that point there was no narration, and I’m not sure if it exists in the major release. I assume some form of it did, because he then went on to explain that while Major Warren was taunting General Smithers to the point of killing him, that someone poisoned the coffee.
This is Tarantino’s eighth film, and he’s an incredibly talented director, which is why I felt cheated when he simply told us of a major plot point that would soon kill John Ruth. A simple cutaway while Warren is giving his speech would have sufficed. I would also add that the chapter before was titled Domergue has a secret, and Tarantino states that she saw who poured the poison, then says “And that’s why this chapter’s called Domergue has a secret.” No shit, I figured that out all on my own.
Once shit started going haywire, there was this out of place flashback to the morning before the four main characters arrived, to show how Daisy Domergue’s posse came to the cabin and killed everyone in it. I think that this part of the story is necessary, but I think to pull away from the heat of the gunfire to show us at that particular time isn’t a good idea. This flashback should have occured while Warren was piecing together who poisoned the coffee, allowing the audience to come to the slow realization that there was another person in the cabin, then before they have a chance to ask where is he, the camera pans down to underneath the floorboard to show him in the cellar.
All in all, this movie is still fantastic, despite my gripes, and sits in a solid third place for me, behind Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. I give this movie a 3/8.