The Hateful Eight: Film Review


The Hateful Eight leaked online ages ago, but I resisted temptation to watch it because I think Quentin Tarantino deserves my cinema money and this is so much better on the big screen. I also think it’s more enjoyable in the cinema, where you can fully concentrate on the long, dialogue-heavy Western and get wrapped up in it as events dramatically unfold like a play.

Kurt Russell’s bounty hunter John is riding a stagecoach with his prisoner Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) through the snow in Wyoming when they are stopped by fellow bounty hunter Marquis (Samuel L. Jackson) and the new sheriff of Red Rock Chris (Walton Goggins), who have both lost their transport into town. The four passengers stop at Minnie’s Haberdashery to take shelter from the snow blizzard – but Minnie is not there, and it is inhabited by Sandy (Bruce Dern), Bob (Demian Bichir), Oswaldo (Tim Roth) and Joe (Michael Madsen), who are not who they seem.


Not many directors have such a signature style, but you can instantly tell this is a Tarantino movie from the font used in the credits, the music and chapter structure. And the script here is pure Tarantino. I love his dialogue and all his films are very wordy and dense, but it feels more obvious here as the majority of the film is staged like a play inside the haberdashery. I personally loved this section of getting to know each of the characters, but I can see how some people would get bored or impatient with it as not much action happens.

However, if you are a fan of Tarantino, you are prepared for this and you know he is just bringing the characters to life and building up to an almighty climax. I’m so glad he is receiving screenplay award nominations because it is very clever – he manages to make the whole thing intense, as you are constantly waiting for someone to flip out and shoot while he is building characters through conversations. He also manages to make it serious, hardcore violent yet pretty funny.


Jackson was incredible in this and holds it all together. Jason Leigh has been getting all the award mentions, but I don’t think she is any better than him. Sure, she is put through the shit physically but in terms of acting, I think they are on par. I also enjoyed Russell and Roth a lot, and I’m not familiar with Goggins but I’ll be aware of him now for sure. Channing Tatum has a small but pivotal role, which I won’t describe, but his casting did throw me a bit.

This is very violent, but this is Tarantino, so what do you expect? But it doesn’t feel too gratuitous – it makes sense because we know the characters so well and understand their motivations. Some killings made me jump as they were unexpected after a period of slow moving dialogue, and I did cringe a couple of times as the gross bits. The final showdown and reveal of the characters’ true identities is absolutely brilliant, and the script is genius for setting up such a great deception.

This is not my favourite Tarantino for sure, but I prefer it more than Django Unchained and Inglourius Basterds. It is violent, it is funny, has a fantastic cast and is presented in a unique way. This deserves to be watched in a cinema – so do it! But be warned – watching this will make you feel cold, so wrap up warm!

In cinemas now 

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