Movie Review: ‘Hateful Eight’

Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter

Eight men stuck in the frontier of the United States must wait out a snowstorm, and try not to kill one another in the process. “Hateful Eight,” the eighth movie from director Quentin Tarantino, was released in theaters this December.

The film itself takes place some number of years after the Civil war, and follows Major Marquis Warren, played by Samuel L. Jackson, a former Union major who led a regiment of cavalry. Now acting as a bounty hunter, Major Warren runs into another bounty hunter known as “The Hangman” who has a female bounty with him who is worth 10,000 dollars, and is travelling to the same town. As the trio joins together, a blizzard hits and they are forced to spend time with five other strangers, trying to survive the nights until the storms end over the course of six chapters as told by a narrator.

The movie itself, being a Tarantino film, has some criteria to meet: there needs to be large amounts of blood, some good humor and memorable scenes and lines. The movie holds up to these. There is a good level of thematic bloodspray and Samuel Jackson has some of the funniest lines in the movie, but there are only a few memorable scenes and lines.

One of the best parts about the movie is how much character development we get. The actors and actresses in the film do give it their all, and each one of the characters is distinguished from one another. Major Warren is exceptionally clever and observant and Tim Roth’s character “The Little Man” is extremely deceptive and diplomatic. Each individual character is what is most memorable about the film.

As well, the score of the movie, being composed by Ennio Morricone as his first Western score in 35 years was nominated for an Academy Award, and won a Golden Globe. The music fits the era and is unique in its arrangement. Whereas most movie scores are the orchestral music, there are tracks such as “The Suggestive Oswaldo Mobray” and “This Here is Daisy Domergue” are actually dialogue tracks from the film itself, with the actors reading their lines.

When compared to other films that Tarantino is known for such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs,” “Hateful Eight” is a fun watch, but it is not to the same level as past Tarantino films.  It matches its predecessors in terms of humor and level of violence and blood, but there are few memorable moments. Where unlike “Pulp Fiction” there are classic scenes which are ingrained in pop culture, “Hateful Eight” being mainly in one setting has much more memorable interactions than scenes.

This is to say that where people will remember lines like “Zed’s dead” and the sex dungeon from “Pulp Fiction,” audiences are most likely to remember dialogues between characters. There is one philosophical discussion between Tim Roth and Kurt Russell about the difference between court justice and frontier justice. As well there is an ideological fight between Samuel Jackson, a black cavalryman who fought in the Civil War, and Bruce Dern who plays a confederate general known for killing blacks.

Overall this movie is a good one to watch, especially as a follow up to Tarantino’s last film: “Django Unchained.” While it may not have the most memorable scenery or actions, the twist in the story is an unexpected one, and the characters are as memorable as the letters of the alphabet.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


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