Set sometime after the Civil War a bounty hunter, John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is on his way to a town called Red Rock where he intends to bring a fugitive, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to face a hanging. Travelling in his stagecoach through a blistery winter storm he meets another bounty hunter, Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and the new Sherriff of Red Rock, Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). Lost in the blizzard they decide to take refuge in an Inn called Minnie’s Haberdashery. Here they meet four other people they are unfamiliar with and they learn that not everyone will make it through the storm or the night. The Hateful Eight is the latest film by Quentin Tarantino that unfortunately doesn’t meet the same standards as his previous offerings. Long in the tooth and drawn out it is hard to keep its audience engaged due to the slow dialogue and lack of original script.
John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth is a bounty hunter with a difference. He could easily kill his bounty and bring them to the authorities to collect his reward. Instead he likes to bring them in alive and let the hangman have their day. He won’t compromise for anyone and if anybody challenges him from delivering his asset he’s not afraid to kill. Major Warren on the other hand has no issues in killing his bounty, in fact he insists on it as it makes it easier to transport. The dead can’t run or fight back. Kurt Russell and Samuel L Jackson play the lead roles in a minimal line up of cast. They play their roles extremely well its just a shame the script is weak and basic.
Most of the film is set inside a wooden Inn called Minnie’s Haberdashery. Eight people under one roof trying to make it through the next few days to get to Red Rock. No one trusts each other, everyone has their own agenda or so it seems. The set looks good, trying to create that old western feel. All the props seem to bring that country look and realism to the film. Clearly you can tell it’s a set and not actually an Inn but its done in the right way. This is one of a handful of positives about this film. As with any Tarantino film the soundtrack is great. Little bits of music to try and tie the scenes together and in some ways its very similar to Django Unchained. You can quite easily listen to the soundtrack on it’s own.
Move a little strange, you’re gonna get a bullet. Not a warning, not a question…
Unfortunately for The Hateful Eight, it’s a long-winded, slow moving film. Nothing really happens for the first hour. You want to jeer it along like you would with a horse except you don’t have the reigns. It is very frustrating and tedious and its only when the characters are all together that the story starts to gain some momentum. But don’t expect it to rattle along like a stagecoach. Instead, sit back drink your favourite tipple and wait for the next two hours to pass by. You will need a strong drink to pass the time. Needless to say not everyone makes it out alive and the death scenes are over worked and the use of blood is excessive. In some films it works, like the new version of Rambo but here it is over the top.
The film is directed into 6 different parts, so if you have seen Kill Bill I & II then you will know what this means. Essentially the screen goes black for a few seconds and the next chapter is announced. Its needed given how the film is directed and unfolds. It works well too and it alludes that this may be an old film you are watching. It is also filmed on 70mm film rather than the new technologies you see from films these
days. It’s a nice touch but doesn’t make or break the film.
Overall the eighth film from Tarantino fails to live up to its predecessors. It’s far too slow and it doesn’t keep the audience engaged. If you are looking for a classic then stick to Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs or Django Unchained. These are far more polished and worthy films to enjoy.
Reviewed by Jon Elliott