The Hateful Eight (2015)
Directed & Written by Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Channing Tatum
Narrated by Quentin Tarantino
Music by Ennio Morricone
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters.
Yesterday I reviewed Jackie Brown as part of my 2017 Blind Spot Series & for Quentin Tarantino’s 54th birthday. In that review, I talked a bit about my disappointment over The Hateful Eight. It was hard to not compare the two films as I watched them almost back to back but it made me appreciate Jackie Brown even more and made me realize, in comparison, just how overblown The Hateful Eight is.
I already went on about this movie in yesterday’s review so I’ll keep this one short: The Hateful Eight is easily my least favorite Tarantino film (I’ve ranked them all HERE). It’s not a horrible film but he’s clearly believing his own hype too much & needs to return to the simplicity of a really good script as in things like Reservoir Dogs. His films have been getting more & more over the top and this one finally went fully overboard. It’s one thing to be over the top but another to be so dragged out & rather unenjoyable, which is something that I can’t say of any of his other films.
Okay – I’ll try to say some good things about this movie. Well, the best thing about it is Ennio Morricone’s score (but I’ll come back to that). The two main reasons I watched this were for Morricone and to see Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Oscar-nominated performance since I’m a fan of hers (plus to be able to say I’ve seen all of Tarantino’s films, I suppose). The clue is in the title and all these characters are indeed hateful (which isn’t going to make it easy to like a movie very much) but Leigh was great & her character was the one I enjoyed watching the most. I’m glad she got the recognition for this role as the movie itself lets its talented actors & composer down. Samuel L Jackson & Kurt Russell were also very good (although Jackson was, once again, his over-the-top Tarantino self) but no one else in the cast really stood out compared to these three. The other characters were extremely weak for a Tarantino film – he usually manages to make even the smallest characters in a film interesting. Maybe it should’ve just been The Hateful Three. But that’s a shit title. Did he come up with the title first & then had to write in five extra boring characters? Ah ha! That must be what happened. Plus, I think there were actually more than eight so he’s full of shit (you don’t count, Channing Tatum! The Hateful Nine isn’t a good title).
But back to Ennio Morricone. Morricone is a movie music God. Like I said in my Jackie Brown interview, the one thing Tarantino always does right in his movies is the music and I know he was overjoyed when he got Morricone to agree to score this (I want Morricone to score my whole life. That would be awesome). Is it Morricone’s best score ever? Well, no, but you can’t really top something like The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Yes, he probably won the Oscar for this mainly because the Academy realized they’d seriously f*^kd up in never giving him an Oscar (other than an honorary one) until now. I hadn’t even realized that beforehand – he’s someone you’d just assume already had one. Anyway! Here’s a good interview with Tarantino talking about how he got Morricone to do this score. Wow. Morricone is a true professional. It was a very last minute thing and Morricone did it in very little time & in a way he’s not used to usually working. Combined with unused parts of his score for The Thing, I can’t believe they managed to pull this all together so well in that length of time. Tarantino of course wants to use him again so just imagine what we’d get if Morricone is involved in the project from the very start. It gives me chills thinking about it. I just hope, if they do work together again, that the movie can live up to the score next time!
Oh. The cinematography was good too. There’s one more thing! The last & final good thing. The outdoor shots were quite beautiful and the opening, combined with Morricone’s score, was very good (I’ll post the opening scene below). Too bad the majority of the film is inside a dark, tiny cabin!!! To start out in a rather epic sort of way with this beautiful snowy landscape and to then end up stuck in a dark little cabin for what felt like far more than the 3 hour & 7 minute running time was so damn cruel. To us. Cruel to the audience. Never mind the characters! Although I suppose they would’ve frozen to death outside, so…
The Hateful Eight. It’s too damn long. It has a good score from a true master. It has three really good actors doing the best they can with a weak script. It’s pretty to look at when they’re actually outside that goddamn cabin. It’s violent as f^*k. It’s definitely a Tarantino film. I still like Tarantino’s films & I’ll still watch them all despite finding this one the most disappointing so far. To be fair, it could’ve been worse. But it could’ve been SO much better. And this review was meant to be short. Like Tarantino, I sometimes don’t know when enough is enough.
My Rating: 6/10
Haha, The Hateful Three really does sound rubbish! I liked this one, but I watched it in the cinema where I didn’t really have a choice about pause breaks, if I’d watched it at home I’d have probably watched it over 2 sittings. It’s about an hour too long!
Yeah, it’s definitely far too long. I’m sure the opening looked fantastic in the cinema but I’m glad I didn’t have to sit through the rest of it that way. I somehow managed to stay awake, though! I usually fall asleep watching movies at home… : )
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Good review! I still need to see this one; I went on a Tarantino binge a few years ago when people kept being amazed that I was a film fan but had never seen a Tarantino movie. 😉 ha ha My favorites of his are Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained, though I think you are absolutely spot-on with your comment that Tarantino has bought into his own hype too much. It feels like his last several films have needed a more strict editor. Usually in film less is more, and I think Tarantino could scale back a bit.
Thanks! Ah, missed this comment! : ) Well, film fans all have to start somewhere. It takes years to catch up on all the classics! 😉 I’ve only seen so many movies because I’m so old. Lol. But it’s only in the past four years, since starting this blog, that I’ve started on certain films. Like Charlie Chaplin. And the majority of the Studio Ghibli. And spaghetti Westerns (which are surprisingly good. Huh.). But I’m glad you got around to the Tarantino stuff! Reservoir Dogs is a favorite of mine too. I’d be curious to know what you think of The Hateful Eight. It definitely needs a trim, that’s for sure! I think you’ve probably seen far better Tarantino films. : )
I quite liked The Hateful Eight on the whole, but I agree that it’s far too long and not up there with Tarantino’s best. It’s a small, contained story, and it needs a small, contained running time to make that work. It’d be nice if he could rein it in, be a little less indulgent, but I guess no one’s saying “no” to him anymore!
Yep, I think that’s the problem. No one says no to famous people when they become too famous! Music people are the worst. You can tell when some musicians become too famous & start making music their way because it suddenly sucks. 🙂 Agree The Hateful Eight could be better if much shorter (like, probably half the time…). I didn’t hate it but certainly didn’t love it! Was just disappointed.
Tarantino films are the best. BUT to be honest I haven’t really felt a need to watch this. I would rather watch Jackie Brown / Reservoir Dogs to fill up on my Tarantino list before I venture this way. Great review!
Agreed – you should definitely watch Reservoir Dogs first (one of my faves). Then Jackie Brown (bearing in mind that it’s the only one based on someone else’s material so does have a different feel). 🙂 THEN, after seeing all he’s done, MAYBE watch The Hateful Eight when in the right mood for a three hour epic set mostly in a dark cabin with a bunch of hateful characters… Lol. But worth watching to complete the list. 😉
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