“The Hateful Eight (2015)” Review

Another Tarantino film – his latest. His eightist.

Why did I watch it?

Tarantino. It’s Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film as writer/director, billed as “The 8th Film by Quentin Tarrantino”. It’s even got eight in the title.

Did it meet expectations?

I’m tempted to say, despite the billing, it’s actually the first film by Quentin Tarantino again – rehashed and transposed to a post-civil war blizzard, and padded out with an extra 45 minutes of amateur carpentry. It’s got a group of characters (mostly) confined to a single set, with flashbacks, and a ‘traitor’ (or traitors).

Also, it’s only ‘eight’ in the sense that Blake’s Seven were seven.

I don’t know if it’s just that we’ve become accustomed to the Tarantino ultra-violence or if it has actually become a parody of itself, but by this point it reminds me mostly of Itchy and Scratchy.

I think this is the first Tarantino film with an actual score, rather than a collection of cool songs (though it has those too) and it’s by Ennio Morricone. It’s an interesting piece of work, though not classic Morricone as far as I’m concerned.

Tarantino has a tendency to make story structure visible through little alienation devices, such as the chapter markers that are employed here. But it’s still a surprise when after an hour and a half of letting the action on screen speak for itself, his voice chimes in with some informal narration – as if he’d lost patience with visual exposition and just decided chatting to us would be more effective in moving the story along than showing us cinematically.

I enjoyed the hugely confident opening sequences and the opening chapter with the stage coach in the snow. I’d could easily have done without the rest.

You should watch it if…

  • You thought Reservoir Dogs would have been better if it was twice as long
  • You’re stuck in a blizzard with nothing better to watch

You shouldn’t watch it if…

  • You’re not a dedicated Tarantino fan

Next up: Mr Holmes (2015)

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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