FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “The Hateful Eight,” which stars Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers, Pulp Fiction), Kurt Russell (The Thing, Death Proof), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Machinist, Road to Perdition), Walton Goggins (The Bourne Identity, Justified [TV series]), Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk , Reservoir Dogs), Michael Madsen (Donnie Brasco, Hope Lost), Damian Bichir (The Heat, A Better Life), Bruce Dern (The ‘Burbs, Nebraska), James Parks (Street Poet, Fighting Words), and Channing Tatum (White House Down, Foxcatcher). It is written and directed by Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained). A bounty hunter by the name of John Ruth (Russell) takes refuge in a cabin with his prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Leigh), another bounty hunter named Major Marquis Warren (Jackson), and Red Rock’s new sheriff, Chris Mannex (Goggins), during a harsh winter storm in Wyoming. In the cabin, they meet four other people staying the night, but Ruth begins to question if one of them may be in cahoots with his prisoner in an attempt to set her free.
Surprisingly, this is the first Quentin Tarantino film that I have ever seen. Yeah, I know, it’s a shocker. I would’ve seen his older movies before this one, reserving “The Hateful Eight” for another time, but this was in my reach at the moment, so I gave into watching it. I understand Tarantino’s style, judging by his reputation and the reviews of his many films. He loves three things: Samuel L. Jackson, excessive amounts of blood, and the “N” word. All of which are found in this release. I didn’t expect what this story will give me. The trailers I have seen suggested a comedy of people stuck in a cabin together, with the criminal woman as the main focus of conflict. Although she was part of the argument, this movie was way different from what I thought it would be. It was unpredictable, weird, gross, and interesting, all rolled up into one. It sounds like an odd mix, but it works most of the time for this plot. What I liked most about it was the chemistry amongst our characters, and how they are turned on one another. Everyone who performed in this did a fantastic job, from Kurt Russell to Samuel L. Jackson to Bruce Dern. I was captivated by all of their performances, as they really drew me into their characters. Not knowing who was the bad egg in the bunch, helping the criminal out, was a mystery, one that I was invested in. I will tell you that I was shocked quite a bit throughout this, and that most likely goes to the fact that this isn’t cliché. Don’t believe that any character is safe, and be prepared for the most outrageous things to happen. Not outrageous as in “Gentlemen Broncos” outrageous. It’s not that silly. This movie just has some crazy scenes that shifts the tone back and forth from well-grounded to insane. The story itself was good. I didn’t know that it was almost three hours long, but most of that time was well-spent. Our situation with these characters was developed appropriately and the dilemma surrounding Minnie’s Haberdashery was depicted in full detail. I don’t believe that this movie was that slow. There were some shots that seemed to take ages to cut from, but overall I was entertained. I will say that the pace did pick up towards the end, with a gruesome finale that I won’t forget. I enjoyed the mystery of this adventure as there was something sketchy about the place our “heroes” were staying at. If there is one thing that I would bash on first in the writing for this, it would be how some of the story is spoon fed to me. At some points I understand the situation, but Tarantino (who also wrote this) has a character fill us in on what’s going on anyway. This can create dull moments that can pull me away from the intensity of a scene or just waste time. There’s also some moments where a narration will be added to help us in figuring out what is going on. I would put it as a con, because the narration did feel random, but it was necessary since I wouldn’t understand what would be happening without it. Aside from the plot, two last pros I want to mention are the direction and cinematography. I’ve heard that Tarantino is an acquired taste, and I guess I am one of those who has it. I don’t know how to explain it, but the guy can direct. This movie has some shots that were great, and the cinematography of it all helped it. Everything looked picturesque, including the sets, mountains, and tones of the cabin. Of course, everything did eventually become bloody and disgusting at some point, but for the time being it looked beautiful. When switching over to cons, my first big concern is the gross factor. At times this flick will throw in some obnoxious gory scene that disrupts the reality of what is taking place. In Tarantino’s world, one shot to the head makes it explode, and drinking poison makes you spew out blood like a hose. It made me cringe, but it does set Tarantino apart from other directors. Not only that, but there were also some disgusting scenes without blood. One would be when Samuel L. Jackson told Bruce Dern about his run in with Dern’s kid. It had to be one of the most vile things that I have ever seen in a film. I guess it was necessary in the fate of Bruce Dern, but it didn’t need to be executed the way it did. It can make a grown up story look juvenile. Besides its gross factor, my last two issues with this movie would have to be some editing decisions and a few nitpicks. With the editing, there was one thing I couldn’t stand: the slow motion. I’m not one who hates slow motion. In fact, it can be cool in many films, “Transformers” being one. But, this one interjects the effect in the most random of scenes. At one point, Samuel L. Jackson was slowed down when he was just talking. It felt weird and unnecessary. With the nitpicks, you can find them in just about any movie. My nitpicks with this one would be the mortality of some of these characters. Some were shot in places were they should’ve died on the spot, but still lived. They were even shot several times and we’re still squirming around. Like the excessive blood, this pulls me away from realism of the story. Overall, this film was not as bad as what critics make it out to be. I actually thought it was pretty good. It was rough around the edges and included writing/directing decisions that they could’ve done without, but I was entertained, and most of this was heavily interesting, thanks to the great cast. I can’t compare it to other Tarantino films, since I haven’t seen any others, but for those of you who are into Westerns, gore, and mysteries, I would recommend you to check this out. FINAL SCORE: 86%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: