One moment you find yourself shivering over a gravestone, the next moment travelling alongside three of the ‘Hateful Eight’ of Tarantino’s Midwestern Western. This is a film with mutton chops and smoking guns from the outset, a film that smells a little bit like skinned beavers and beef jerky. With it’s claustrophobic camera, you are always the ninth member of The Hateful Eight, a fairly minimal story about bounty hunters played by big names like Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell.
This is one of the biggest problems I had with the film, it’s essentially an american costume drama in the style of Downtown Abbey with far more broken teeth. You never really get an in-depth look at the characters and their motivations in a wider context.
The Hateful Eight’s characters can’t compete with The Bride of Tarantino’s Kill Bill trilogy, which delivers an epic, modern riff on the story of a samurai. There’s not a sniff of Mia Wallace’s vulnerability as every character is essentially…hateful. Tarantino has begun using violence to make up for lack of plot, it’s got an epic soundtrack, but you can’t help but feel like he should be loading coins into a jukebox, into an environment which existing while he worked his way up from Video Rental geek to esteemed director.
Old West can be done quite vibrantly, oddly one of the best cartoonish westerns is Back to the Future 3. By confining the action, Tarantino can’t rely on this factor that made other directors such as the Korean film The Good, the Bad, the Weird so endearing. This a road movie without a road, where the journey isn’t actually that interesting.
Good points of this film, if you are looking for a film with a few epic set pieces and some cruel and unusual punishments, Tarantino delivers them in huge bounties. Some of the best moments of the film are just the landscape.
You are given a long time to consider every inch of the characters surroundings, which makes it quite a decent trek for anyone studying film. It’s just a shame it resorts to a bunch of old men and a psychotic woman in a cabin. The issues such as racism, which take up so much of the screen time are not really studied in detail with the only memorable form of writing being the Letter from Lincoln carried by one of the central characters.Overall, I’d say it was worth a shot because it’s still a significant film, but be prepared to feel a little bit like you were not the first to draw your pistol with this movie.