The Hateful Eight (2015) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: The Hateful Eight (2015)

One certainly has to hand it to Quentin Tarantino — as a film-maker, he has taken violence, hatred and perversity to the next level and has made quite a living from the results. He has also created quite a few amazing two-hour films — unfortunately, most of his movies run more than two and a half hours, because he intersperses the blood-letting with a more than generous supply of sitting around and talking the plot out.

Things are no different with Tarantino’s ninth picture, The Hateful Eight, which sees a group of mysterious gun-toting cowpokes — all with seemingly different motives regarding a captive woman brought in to hang by a “gentleman” bounty hunter. To populate this storyline, the director utilizes some of his stock actors, Kurt Russell (“Grindhouse: Death Proof”), Tim Roth (“Reservoir Dogs”), Samuel L. Jackson (“Pulp Fiction,” “Jackie Brown”), Walton Goggins (“Django Unchained”) and Michael Madsen (“Kill Bill, Volumes 1 and 2”), along with some “new” faces such as Jennifer Jason Leigh (“Jake Squared”), Bruce Dern (Academy Award nominee for “Nebraska”), Channing Tatum (“Jupiter Ascending”) and Demián Bichir (“Machete Kills”), among others.

He also peppers the dialogue with so many curses and racial and anti-woman epitaphs, the working title should have been the “Nigger, Bitch, Fuck” movie. And set as it is shortly after the Civil War, I can understand the usage of the first two words, but I finally had to draw the line when no demonstrative proof has been given that the F-word was used in the Old West (especially the MF-word, which appears several times in this picture; my research shows the word existed, but not the definition we know of today). Anyway, enough of the English lesson. Despite the unpleasantness of the endeavor (Tarantino even manages to make oral sex depressing), the overall results are a very imaginative and insightful motion picture.

Also remember, The Hateful Eight isn’t your grandfather’s “Stagecoach,” the 1939 John Ford classic about a group of travelers who find out about their companions and themselves while riding the stage in Old Arizona. Here, it’s Wyoming — in the middle of Wyoming — when bounty hunters John Ruth (Russell) and Maj. Marquis Warren (Jackson) meet just ahead of a blizzard on the way to the town of Red Rock. Ruth is hauling in Daisy Domergue (Leigh, a leading candidate for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar), a foul-mouthed, murderous lout that everyone thinks is crazy. Soon, another traveler, Chris Mannix (Goggins), an ex-Confederate captain and newly-elected sheriff of Red Rock finds his way onto the crowded coach.

Because of the weather, though, the group is forced to stop at a midway point, Minnie’s Haberdashery, where another gaggle of miscreants are introduced: A sullen, long-haired cowboy, Joe Gage (Madsen); a hangman heading to Red Rock, Oswaldo Mobray (Roth); a former CSA general (Dern) and a Mexican who claims to be an employee of the missing Minnie (Bichir). Oh, what a tangled web he weaves. As in “Django Unchained,” Tarantino invests much attention in snowy vistas, rafters and floorboards, frozen breath, whiskers and stagecoaches (there are about ten scenes of people hammering a door shut to keep out the cold).

It’s the director’s smallest-scaled effort since “Reservoir Dogs,” his first film that could easily work on the stage. It has a traditional play’s pacing and structure, with the focus forever shifting among its principals and with members of the ensemble left to sit there looking on while the others have their major scenes. Plus, there are no real villains to shoot for as everyone — and I mean EVERYONE — has more than enough baggage to keep them on the unlikable list.

However, the unintentionally hilarious butchery of the final reel is quite nasty, of course, but nevertheless satisfying in its overall pointlessness and its a comeuppance free-for-all. It’s also unshackled from that awful “Inglourious Basterds” sense that we’re meant to believe that over-the-top movie violence might right history (remember that fantasy where a tiny group of American Jewish soldiers wipes out Nazi Germany?). Too many people buy that already, so it’s a relief that this bloodbath, while disgusting, is basically contained. The Hateful Eight is at once ingratiating, and then hilariously mean, while the body count adds up.

Like a cinematic Donald Trump, Tarantino revels in the unforgiving violence and political incorrectness of The Hateful Eight, and is so fatalistic in the world view he is presenting that it feels as though he is egging his critics (and supporters) on. Most will view it with a jaded eye because of his other works, but others will respect the daring (although over-the-top at times dialogue), the “purist” filming of the project in Ultra Panavision 70 (a format that hasn’t been employed in some 50 years) and the respectful hiring of Ennio Morricone, the man whose most famous score for the iconic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is now synonymous with the western.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: The Hateful Eight (2015)' have 13 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 4, 2016 @ 10:29 pm Margoleen Getty

    …..The most disappointing Hollywood film of the year. Over done, Too much Blue screen. The White perfect teeth on some actors and the exaggerated ‘black eye’ on the female, the drone deliver of speech (akin to a table read) I could not endure. Dreadful waste of time.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 4, 2016 @ 10:37 pm moffman

    Overlong by an hour but I still think it is another Tarantino masterpiece. Wonderful outdoor/indoor contrast, brilliant dialogue, interesting characters and classic climax.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 4, 2016 @ 11:10 pm h1visaholder

    Jennifer Jason Leigh is scary good in this. She gets my vote for a Supporting Actress Academy Award.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 4, 2016 @ 11:32 pm Tony

    Felt like Tarantino was checking off his usual boxes.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      January 5, 2016 @ 2:20 pm Effinger

      All directors have their trademark style. In Tarantino’s case it is very pronounced; that doesn’t make this a bad movie because you recognize it.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      January 9, 2016 @ 9:09 am lentilberger

      He was and it was fantastic.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 5, 2016 @ 12:12 am mykael

    Is it wrong that I only like Samuel L. Jackson in Quentin Tarantino movies? Quentin writes stuff for him that he really relates too. Jules (PF), Stephen (DU) and now Major Marquis Warren are the best he’s done.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 5, 2016 @ 2:27 am Kragle

    Great movie but bad timing. Even though Hateful 8 is a better movie, The Force Awakens will dominate theaters and the conversation for months

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 5, 2016 @ 7:47 am StarHore

    I wasn’t a big fan of it. For me it was Tarantino trying too hard to fit his “thing” into a classic western setting. I know that doesn’t make much sense written out but oh well. If you watch the movie you’ll get what I mean.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      January 5, 2016 @ 2:22 pm Effinger

      I saw the movie and I don’t get what you mean.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 5, 2016 @ 10:13 am burrito-

    I don’t know much but what I do know is Jackson’s speech to Dern, if true, is one of the most troubling I’ve heard. It’s also the best Tarantino has written.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 5, 2016 @ 10:39 am Rick Bowles

    What was Christoph Waltz doing that he missed his part as Oswaldo Mobray? Tim Roth is a fine actor and does the part justice but it was obvious the part was written with Waltz in mind.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 5, 2016 @ 6:39 pm ohpete

    A bit slow at first but picks up. Great Tarantino dialogue and violence and music as usual. The only miss was the Channing Tatum reveal. It’s not much of a surprise when he is first billed but doesn’t make an appearance in the early scenes.

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