Quentin Tarantino’s 8th movie as director is named ‘The Hateful Eight’ or, if you prefer ‘The H8ful Eight’. Good that, innit? My expectations were somewhat low for this offering from the master of uber-cool violence. Early reviews used such words as ‘formulaic’, ‘overlong’ and ‘derivative’. I feared the worst. I was happy then that these fears were unfounded. The movie seized me from the off, and it held my undivided attention till the very end of its three hour plus run time.
I remember watching Reservoir Dogs all those years ago and being held in awe by its majesty. I was young, and believed all movies should be this way. It felt like a homage to the classic films of the 70s. Taxi Driver and The Godfather movies etc. Dialogue that palpably crackled, relentless pace and ambiguous anti-heroes that you could neither cheer or wish a grisly outcome for. Pulp Fiction for me left me even more gob-struck and impressed, but even back then I knew this represented Tarantino’s nadir. I was afraid he would never turn his hand to such greatness ever again. Unfortunately, I believe this still to be the case.
However, although many might disagree, The Hateful Eight is a better movie than Inglorious Basterds, Django and Kill Bill. It’s so well acted. Jason Leigh is excellent. Samuel Jackson is excellent – as are all the other players. Special mention must go to Walter Goggins who plays a Yankee hating confederate would-be sheriff who, let’s just say, is not very tolerant of minorities. Tarantino said the movie is influenced by The Thing, and I can see that, but I can also see echoes from Evil Dead 2. There are only two real settings in the film, and much like Raimi’s horror-comedy, characters come and go throughout. The pace and tension is just perfect. If you like your movies heavy with fantastic acting, true mystery and snappy dialogue (albeit very Tarantino-esque – but what did you expect), then you are going to love The H8ful Eight. Even without the Tarantino brand – this is a superb western worthy of joining the canon of that particular genre. Oh yeah, it has a Morricone soundtrack too. What’s not to like?