Quentin Tantino is a curious man. The first time I saw him, he was a recurring character in Alias, of all places. It wasn’t until later that I took the time to really watch his stuff, and his stuff is something else. His movies are so off the beaten path of what you normally find in film that its safe to say he is a legend. Still, for some reason or another, I’ve been avoiding The Hateful Eight because it seemed like a movie that wouldn’t really capture me the same way his others have. Today, I watched the movie. How does it measure up? Let’s get into it.
The Hateful Eight is ultimately about eight strangers that run into each other in the middle of a blizzard. They don’t really know each other, but they have heard of each other, and throughout the entire movie there is a certain absence of trust between everybody. When something happens, it’s all paranoia and suspician between the gang…whose innocent? Whose not? I guess you’ll just have to watch it to find that out.
There’s a certain classic feel to this movie. Most would point to Agatha Christie and Clue. That’s because this movie is a mystery, or perhaps an old-fashioned whodunnit, and a mostly well-done whodunnit at that. There were certain aspects of this film that I wasn’t a fan of – and that really came down to the mysterious answer to that question. It just isn’t the direction I would have gone. I would have given this movie a higher score if it turned out differently – in fact it’s the second to last chapter that changed my outlook on the entire movie. I wouldn’t say anything was ruined, just changed.
This film has all the typical Tarantino elements when it comes to violence and not-really-but-technically-a-western elements – but there isn’t really any action. This is a violent drama mystery that focuses most of its strength on written dialogue. This is Tarantino’s best work – when it comes to dialogue only. It was so well-written that it often felt theatrical…in a good way. The only time I didn’t care for people talking is when Tarantino would randomly narrate chapter headings. I understand that adds to the classic feeling…a directoral introduction, if you will…but at the same time, that removes from the cinematic feeling.
Perhaps one of the main issues I had with this film was the runtime. His movies have a tendency to run long, but most the time I don’t really mind…this time I did. Yes, a lot of the scenes were integral to developing characters, including backstories and overall atmosphere…but I kept thinking the movie could be shortened and maintain everything of importance.
On a technical level, this movie is phenomenal. It’s hard to complain about anything in terms of musical score, acting, directing, writing, lighting, editing, the works. Everything behind the scenes was perfectly balanced and carefully produced – something Tarantino is well known for, regardless of entertainment value. The Hateful Eight is a pretty decent mystery when it came to story – and one that is sure to lure more audiences in over the years. Check it out!