hateful-eight-poster-600x889It’s taken me all week to settle on what I thought about this film so I thought I’d better get my thoughts on virtual paper before they get overtaken by The Revenant which I’m seeing this evening.

I haven’t actually moved that far from my initial reaction as shared with a friend which was:

  • too long
  • too talky
  • very violent
  • very sweary

In other words your standard Tarantino film. I could just leave it at that but I won’t. Before going into the detail, what do our friends at IMDb tell us?

In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters.

So, that seems fairly straightforward but it’s much more complicated than that of course. And as I have said in previous reviews of Tarantino, I usually find something to enjoy or admire in his films but they are always problematic in some way.

  1. Too long & talky. These things are intimately connected. It’s constructed and scripted like a play (and I think it may originally have had a staged reading?) and there are some points in the film, particularly the carriage ride at the beginning where Kurt Russell Bounty Hunter picks up some additional passengers in his stagecoach, where they talk. A lot. I think I understand what he was trying to get at here but as he has done previously it was all just stretched out for far too long.
  2. Very violent. Well, not a surprise, lots of blood and guts and given that it’s basically a locked house murder mystery Western hybrid you expect bodies to drop like flies and that’s what you get. Only with a lot more blood. I mean, a lot more blood. The thing that stuck out for me and I found disturbing (and my husband agreed afterwards when I asked him) is the amount of casual violence handed out to (technically) the only female character. I know this is not unusual in his films but I think the fact that Jennifer Jason Leigh is there on her own, surrounded by men who all think it’s both funny and fitting that she’s smacked around, meant that it really jarred.
  3. Very sweary. Again, not surprising for a Tarantino film but the use of the N-word as well as various other curses is so frequent that I got a bit bored with it and started speculating whether Tarantino suffers from a form of cinematic Tourettes.
  4. Miscellaneous stuff:
    • Bruce Dern was magnificent as always
    • the film looked great
    • I was puzzled about Tim Roth’s performance until someone on Twitter pointed out he was trying to be Christoph Waltz then it all clicked
    • an actor was mentioned in the opening credits that I didn’t expect and I spent the whole film trying to spot him; very distracting and I kind of wished they’d kept that as a proper surprise.

So, a classic Tarantino good but flawed film.