WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD
I hate, “The Hateful Eight”.
I just want to start this by saying that I am a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino. I think he is absolutely brilliant and completely unique in his style and execution; you always know a Tarantino film when you see it.
I have loved everything from Reservoir Dogs to Django but unfortunately ”The Hateful Eight” did not even come close to what I have come to expect from the calibre of Tarantino.
Again, to make this simple, let’s just do a pros and cons list with 5 of the most pertinent points.
- It was nice to see Kurt Russell acting again. I have been a Kurt Russell fan since Over board and thought he was bad ass in Death proof. He hasn’t lost his charm after all these years and he is still a pleasure to watch, even in such a violent role.
- There was one scene that was actually quite gripping that I could not look away from. Jackson's character is speaking to an old war vet about how he was hunted down after the war and that the old man's son had come looking for him to collect the bounty on his head. Jackson then describes how he made the son strip bare naked in the freezing snow, beg for mercy and perform sexual acts for the promise that Jackson would give him a blanket to warm up before killing him. The scene was disturbing and horrible but it had my undivided attention for those 10 minutes.
- Walter Goggins as the sheriff really stood out to me, even amongst heavy hitters such as Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. All though he was incredibly racist, his blind love for his country and indecisiveness felt like the truest nod to Tarantino's style throughout the whole film.
- It was a classic "who done it plot". The idea of a murder mystery is nothing new, it dates way back and when it's good, it's good and when it's bad it's painfully bad. It would have been an excellent film if the "who done it plot" set in a Western and Tarantinos style of long dialogues and simple yet complicated sentencing had lined up.
- I'm struggling here to find positives honestly but for the last one I'll just say I like the Western set in the Winter. It had a beautiful contrast that you don't often see in Western films. It was visually pleasing to see a snowy white background with classic Western accents that are usually associated with the heat and hot weather. The whole movie was beautifully shot and I do appreciate that cinematography and detail that went into the film set.
- The first thing that bothered me was actually what happened after the film and that was realizing that it had been nominated for 3 Oscars, one being best supporting actress by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Her screen time was minimal, she had a small amount of dialogue and not in a good kind of way, like her vibe and presence made up for it; you were painfully aware she wasn’t speaking and she barely made an impact whatsoever. It could had been literally anyone playing the role and I feel you would have had the exact same performance. Nothing special and so not worth an Oscar nod.
- The dialogue. All though the dialogue structure had the Tarantino feel, it didn’t nearly meet the standards as to what is expected when you sit down to watch one of his films. The dialogue scenes were too drawn out with very little impact and the cleverness and bluntness of strangely worded sentences felt incredibly forced, like he was trying too hard to do his thing. The characters didn’t deliver the dialogue with any type of conviction and or emotion behind it, they all seemed like they were trying too hard to be witty and unusual but the whole thing defiantly felt so forced.
- The “bad guys” weren’t likable. You know when you watch a film and you like the bad guy so much that you end up rooting for them or feel sad when they die, well I didn’t feel that way about any character in this film. In D’Jango, Leonardo Dicaprio was despicable but did you like him? The answer is yes but this film gave the characters no redeeming qualities and I couldn’t wait until they were killed off.
- Two words, Channing Tatum. Can Channing do comedy? Yes. Can Channing do action? Yes. Can Channing strip and dance like the rent is two months due? Most defiantly. But, you know what he can’t do, deliver a Quentin Tarrantino script. Watching him felt like he was delivering dialogue he didn't understand or that he had seen for the first time that morning; cringe worthy at the best of times.
- Samuel L. Jackson was a huge let down. We love angry Samuel. He has delivered some very compelling performances and I was quite pleased to see him top billed for this film but perhaps there's a reason he's always a side character in Tarantion's film. He lacked the authority to lead a cast and didn't feel like a main character whatsoever. Maybe that is what Tarantino was going for but there's always a stand out, it's kind of a movies natural selection and amongst the other sub par performances you would think an actor like Jackson would have no issues but it felt that he didn't stand out not because he didn't want to but because he couldn't.
This is simply my opinion. My partner actually quite liked the film and had some valid points as to why he liked it but I just didn't. You can't force yourself to like a film; you just know once a film is finished how it made you feel and this film left me feeling extremely disappointed. I wanted to like this film so bad. I wanted to text my friends and tell them that they had too see it but I would be lying to myself if I did that. Perhaps I had too high of expectations or perhaps I'm missing something magical that everyone else can see except me. Who knows. All I know is that a rating of 8/10 on imdb.com blows my mind as I would give it a 4/10 and that is being generous.
My favourite Tarantino (as director) films in order:
- Pulp Fiction
- Django Unchained
- Reservoir Dogs
- Kill Bill Vol 1
- Death Proof
- Kill Bill Vol 2
- Inglorious Bastards
- Jackie Brown
- The Hateful Eight