Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Hateful Eight


   I was hesitant to write a review of this one because after watching it, I was unsure if I even liked it. For sure, there is a great concept here, and the acting is great all across the board... but this was a misfire in my book. Tarantino can do a lot with a little, that's already well known. He's a master of engaging dialog, but sometimes it just doesn't click. The Hateful Eight's dialog is never engaging enough. Thus, the movie feels meandering. The scenery shots are gorgeous, and maybe I'm missing the point or something, but far too many of them go on for too damn long. Coupled with more than a few running gags that aren't funny in the slightest, the movie feels like it's wasting my time.

  To be sure, there's some great scenes. I loved it when Kurt Russell's bounty hunter character got to talk with Tim Roth's character. Almost every time Roth had speaking lines, he stole the scene. Samuel L. Jackson could play his role in his sleep. Don't get me wrong- more Samuel L. Jackson is never a bad thing, but this is a very familiar and standard performance from him. It's not going to be as iconic as Jules from Pulp Fiction, or as intense and memorable as Stephen from Django Unchained. The late blooming star of The Hateful Eight actually ended up being Walton Goggins. His character never felt like a main play for the majority of the movie, but the plot unfolds and lands him in a spot that made me smile.

  I really enjoyed his dynamic with Samuel L. Jackson's character, especially in the last act. And, speaking of the last act- it's the most entertaining part of the movie. The movie drags and drags to get to that point, and then there's even a flashback sequence that takes up a bunch of time. I'm not a die-hard Tarantino fan, so maybe I'm in the wrong target audience- but I love Pulp Fiction, I adore Django Unchained, and even when I don't like his movies usually they're very interesting to watch and talk about. The Hateful Eight is one with a handful of really good moments, but with too much filler in-between. I didn't want to feel bored at times, but I found my attention wandering. The score is fantastic, and so is the cinematography, but those things by themselves do not a good movie make.

   I suppose if you go in with low expectations and a lot of patience you might enjoy yourself, I know I did. My dislike of the movie was only really found in retrospect. It took me time to realize I didn't really care for this one, but while I was watching it, I did enjoy it. I wasn't eager to blame the movie for my wandering attention, I thought maybe I was just tired, or hungry. But, upon reflection, the movie was indeed to blame. It's not half as catchy, witty, or funny as it'd like to think it is. The dark and twisted parts were interesting, but unlike Pulp Fiction which took the time to give us insight into almost every character, we only get to hear about most of these guys.

  In fact, a Reservoir Dogs structure would've suited this story more. The movie is about a group of people trapped in a cabin during a horrific blizzard, and in the midst of them is a woman with a massive bounty on her head. Her captor is super suspicious of everyone, fearing she might have an accomplice there. Of course, the movie gets really crazy by the last act and well, in typical QT fashion- much blood is spilled. Anyways, a non-linear structure would've made the movie much more entertaining. We're told why characters are bad and despicable, but in a den of liars, I spent far too much time wondering if what was being told was true or not.

  We should have been shown, instead of told. I can see what Tarantino was going for here, but it didn't connect with me. If there are people out there who do like it, more power to them. I wish I was one of them. Alas, I'm not. This isn't an easily watchable flick, and it's also long as hell. Not enough happens to justify it's runtime. It's a half hour story, stretched waaaay the heck out for reasons I can't even fathom. Sad. I was really hoping this was going to be another hit. Maybe it'll get better with a rewatch? I try to give all QT's movies two chances. This helped with Inglorious Basterds and Jackie Brown, maybe it'll do wonders for The Hateful Eight? As to when I'm going to watch it again...? Not for a very long time.

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