It’s hard not to look forward to a film when you know it’s being written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The mind that brought us classics like ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and more recently ‘Django Unchained’. You can certainly tell it’s the same guy. The Hateful Eight is full of the over the top violence, profanity and ice cool dialogue that has come to define a Tarantino film over the years.
The film tells the story of eight strangers who are all caught during a blizzard and end up snowed in, in mountain lodge together. They sort-of know each other through reputation but for the most part; strangers. It’s only when something ‘happens’ (no spoilers here) that the film really kicks into gear and becomes an extremely funny, violent and, at times, vulgar murder-mystery.
Quentin Tarantino has directed yet another superb film. Everything was on point, the performances, the dialogue, the cinematography, the direction, the score, all of it was terrific.
Firstly the performances. No one falters here. Whilst certain characters shine more than others no one puts in a bad performance by any means. The characters all feel so real as they are established in the world through their reputations. Samuel L. Jackson is an absolute joy to watch and surely a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination. You can really tell he’s having a good time playing with the character. His disgraced army officer ‘Major Warren’ is one of those characters that you know is a bad guy but you can’t help but love him. I would say he stole the show, but then that would be a discredit to Jennifer Jason-Leigh’s ‘Daisy Domergue’. She is disgusting to see on screen but you can’t help but not take your eyes off her. Another Oscar contender for sure. Kurt Russell, Tim Roth even Channing Tatum! Everyone is having so much fun with it and it really translates onto screen.
Of course, a Tarantino film wouldn’t be a Tarantino film without his trademark dialogue. A melting pot of N-bombs and cusses, yet it oozes cool. It really is amazing when you sit back and realise how riveted you are just listening to these people’s conversations. Whilst The Hateful Eight may not be as sharp as past Tarantino’s earlier works, namely Pulp Fiction, it is still a cut above most of the competition.
The murder mystery element of the film is also beautifully accompanied by Ennio Morricone’s fantastic score. I can’t really think of anything that would have worked more perfectly. If you were to take the concept of a ‘whodunit’ murder mystery, harness that concept and turn it into a score, Ennio Morricone’s score is exactly what you would get. It was faultless.
However if you haven’t been impressed by Tarantino’s work in the past, The Hateful Eight isn’t going to win you over. Here, Tarantino shows that he has honed his craft and freely plays around with the style that he has arguably perfected.
This isn’t a film for the light hearted. There is a lot of blood, a lot of profanity and it’s all delivered in an unapologetic manner. Nevertheless, if you can accept these aspects as the stylistic means to tell a story that they are, then you will love The Hateful Eight. It is another shining example from Tarantino, of what great cinema looks like.