The Hateful Eight

 

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Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film and second Western, complete with anachronistic dialogue, 

may be too self-indulgent – and violent – for even his fans


Quite frankly, Quentin Tarantino has got too big for his breeches. Eight films on from his debut, the taut, fresh and highly suspenseful Reservoir Dogs (1992), the director has allowed his creative ego to get the better of him. Thus, The Hateful Eight is a big, lumbering talkathon, packed with caricatures, meaningless violence and crass dialogue. Way too much dialogue. Essentially, it’s a play – with more than a nod to Agatha Christie, of all people – in which eight leading characters, sometime after the American Civil War, banter away in a snow-bound Wyoming cabin. Indeed, it was originally intended as a stage production, and, running at over three hours and seven minutes, is a very, very long play. It certainly outstays its welcome in the first hour or so. The scenery – a snow-blasted Colorado – does look fantastic in the 70mm format, but then the action retreats indoors where the rest of the movie plays out.

 

Hateful Eight I

Making a point: Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson

  

Still, this being Tarantino, there are many joys. The cabin itself, a stagecoach lodge called Minnie's Haberdashery, is a thing of authentic beauty and with the characters’ breath visible throughout, a genuinely chilly place. When Samuel L. Jackson, as a former Union major, brings a mug of coffee to his lips, the steam visibly wafts over the brim of his stetson. And much humour is mined from the inadequacy of the front door to withstand the freezing wind. When each character enters, he is instructed – yelled at by everybody present – to nail the damn door shut. Tim Roth has enormous fun as an upper-crust English hangman (a bona fide caricature), while Jennifer Jason Leigh is more than game as the grotesque prisoner of bounty hunter Kurt Russell. She has been nominated for both a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, although it’s more a circus act than a skilfully calibrated performance.

 

 Hateful Eight II

Talking the talk: Tim Roth and Walton Goggins

 

For Tarantino’s core audience, The Hateful Eight certainly delivers on the gratuitous violence, even if one sequence is so unpleasant that it makes one question the director’s sanity. Let’s just say it doesn’t involve guns but introduces a sadism of the video nasty variety. It’s as if Tarantino has taken the extremes of his darkest moments and splashed them across the screen – and the producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein have bankrolled it. It’s tantamount to the cinematic masturbation of a brilliant but very naughty boy.  

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Channing Tatum, James Parks, Zoë Bell, Lee Horsley.

 

Dir Quentin Tarantino, Pro Richard N. Gladstein, Shannon McIntosh and Stacey Sher, Screenplay Quentin Tarantino, Ph Robert Richardson, Pro Des Yohei Taneda, Ed Fred Raskin, Music Ennio Morricone, Costumes Courtney Hoffman.

 

FilmColony-Entertainment Film Distributors.

167 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 8 January 2016. Cert. 18.