A film that seemingly does everything right, with great writing, performances and immaculate technical execution, but one that is totally hindered by its needlessly excessive run-time.
Perhaps Quentin Tarantino’s most divisive film to date (excluding Death Proof), The Hateful Eight garnered pretty much every possible reaction under the sun. You likely know at least one person who absolutely loves it, one person who truly hates it and a smattering of people who are somewhere in the middle. Which is understandable, given that the film is simultaneously brilliant and utterly infuriating in equal measure.
On the one hand, it wonderfully evidences Tarantino’s penchant for sharp, memorable dialogue, cool characters, unpredictable narrative twists and pleasingly bloody violence. On the other, it is maybe the director’s most over-indulgent film yet, clocking in at 167 minutes in its shortest form, and for no apparent reason to boot. Whole chunks of the western pass by without really needing to be there, which is admittedly par-for-the-course when it comes to Tarantino, but here so many of them feel rambling and kind of boring.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some stellar moments, such as Samuel L. Jackson’s show-stopping monologue roughly half way through and some stunning cinematography from Robert Richardson, whilst Ennio Moriconne (undoubtedly the film’s MVP) offers one of his greatest scores to date. Still, The Hateful Eight will likely go down in history as one of cinema’s ‘closest to being great’ films. Had its director shown a bit more discipline, or someone reigned him in just a little, then this could have been a real gem. As it stands, it’s more frustrating than anything.
The Hateful Eight (2015), directed by Quentin Tarantino, is released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray by Entertainment Film Distributors, Certificate 18.