The Hateful Eight (2015)

Rated 18
Spoiler Free

My abiding memory of The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s second western in three years following 2012’s Django Unchained, was my giddy excitement at its impending release at the time. I forked out for what was billed as some kind of special cinematic event at the Odeon cinema in London’s Leicester Square- the cinema famous for most of the A-List film premiers. Needless to say they didn’t roll out the red carpet for me, but I did get a “limited edition” programme and a novelty half time break.

The intermission was novelty, because it was sold as some sort of loving throwback to the good old days of cinema which QT is so lovingly attached to and trying to replicate with The Hateful Eight- this was also a 70mm presentation. We don’t have intermissions anymore but Christ does The Hateful Eight need one, at almost three hours long, but the toilets weren’t designed to cope with a whole audience in fifteen minutes.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the main screen in the Leicester Square Odeon, but it is an art deco building from the 1930’s and still very much feels that way. As well as the tiny toilets, the seats are shallow and I had some tall cunt, with big hair and a head which didn’t stop moving sit directly in front of me. I had to use my bag as a booster seat. So much for nostalgia, unless you count reliving being eight years old in the car again.

Anyway, there’s three paragraphs on how Quentin Tarantino’s best intentions don’t always go to plan.

The Hateful Eight stuck in my mind as a film which I probably didn’t get the most out of at the cinema and, much like most of Tarantino’s other recent films, would mature well with further viewings. Why it took me eight years to get round to my second sitting I don’t know, but at least in the Bedsit Cinema I don’t allow tall people to sit in front of me... because I’m normally alone, yes.

For all its wonderful, very classic western, cinematography, The Hateful Eight’s premise is rather simple- it would probably translate to the stage quite well. A bounty hunter transporting a captive and potential payday becomes stranded in a cabin in snowstorm, a cabin populated with nefarious, mysterious others all of whom carry threat. Will the motives be revealed? Slowly, yes.

As you would expect, the dialogue is air tight, and the quips whip in as delivered by an all-star cast featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern. Given the rather limited location The Hateful Eight also looks good, the cabin has plenty of character itself and the camerawork is clever. Despite the positives I couldn’t shake the feeling it all feels like a whodunnit meant for the theatre.

There is a smattering of humour and while this is all well and good, it takes ages for the action to kick off. When the bullets inevitably start flying, the violence is all a bit comedy, squelch-squelch gore. The Hateful Eight climaxes enjoyably, but somehow the whole film is paced very oddly and has the whiff of self indulgence. Something I was to discover would only get worse with QT when I wasted my time with three attempts at completing Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.

Bedsit it?

Some great performances and the air of intrigue keep The Hateful Eight from going stale before it rewards your patience, but it is far from perfect or Tarantino’s best. Given the choice I’d plump for Django Unchained over it every day of the week, though that isn’t to say it is bad. 7/10

Westerns crime and carnage, check these Bedsit Cinema reviews out!...


Popular Posts