Movie Review – The Hateful Eight (2016)

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walter Goggins, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Demian Bichir, Channing Tatum

The much-anticipated 8th film from the legendary director Quentin Tarantino. In a snowy blizzard a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin. Who can be trusted?  Who will be killed?

I’m a massive Tarantino fan and awaited this with much anticipation. It was in my top ten anticipated films of the year and I was really excited to see it.

Then I watched it and my first reaction is that this is my least favourite Tarantino film. It’s basically a one-set stage play that doesn’t require three hours to be told at all, and in fact a tighter running time would have provided more tension and been similar to Reservoir Dogs. The usual ingredients of what makes Tarantino films great are lacking here, and what’s left is a film that feels hollow and devoid of substance, as though it’s just going through the motions. It also has a lack of ambition. There are no big dramatic set-pieces but neither are there edge-of-your-seat moments like the bit in Inglourious Basterds when they’re playing twenty questions in the German bar.

The usual snappy dialogue is replaced by generic, forgettable lines, with a few exceptions. There are some funny moments and a few moments of trademark stylish violence, but aside from that it is a film that meanders along to a conclusion that is ultimately anti-climactic and, dare I say it, boring?

If there was one person who you would have said could make a film set entirely in a barn engaging and tense it would be Tarantino, but in this endeavor he has failed. There is also one big structural decision that I do not understand at all. Towards the last third of the film there’s a massive flashback, which basically only tells us things that we have already learned or inferred so it doesn’t really provide anything of note and only seems a way to stretch out the running time. If this was at the start it would have given a better introduction to what other characters were walking into, and would have increased the tension. Instead I was wondering why it was being shown at all.

Big disappointment from me. I know right now that I’m never going to watch this film again. It lacks that certain spark that has always marked Tarantino films and set them apart as unique and slightly offbeat from the rest of Hollywood.

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