Starting to See Pictures, Ain’t Ya?

The Hateful Eight is the longest Quentin Tarantino movie ever made. I know he has trouble cutting a film, but there’s just no way he can top an extended runtime of 3 hours & 30 minutes. I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t high on my list of Tarantino flicks I most wanted to watch. Every movie Tarantino directed has had a highly positive reception, but The Hateful Eight has the lowest with a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. Although intended as a sequel to Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight is vastly different. Both are spaghetti westerns focusing on bounty hunters, but the primary difference is era.

The Hateful Eight takes place in post-Civil War America after slavery was abolished. Major Marquis Warren is a black bounty hunter played by (you guessed it) Samuel L. Jackson. People continue saying the n-word, but Warren earns respect with a letter from Abraham Lincoln. With a blizzard on the way, Warren seeks shelter in a stagecoach accompanied by fellow bounty hunter John Ruth played by Kurt Russell. Ruth keeps his bounties alive long enough to be hanged. Jennifer Jason Leigh steals the screen (and an Oscar nomination) as Ruth’s rough prisoner Daisy Domergue. She gets beat up a lot, but again it’s historically accurate. They also pick up Walton Goggins as a racist claiming to be a new sheriff.

The Hateful Eight really plays out more like a stage play. That’s why most of its excessively long runtime is dedicated to one location. A stagecoach lodge already occupied by four other strange characters played by Demián Bichir, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, and Michael Madsen. They become increasingly hateful when discussing war, race, and uncovering a web of deceit that keeps you guessing till the end. The film was almost cancelled after script leaks, but The Hateful Eight was practically made for the screen. Since it probably tries the hardest to recapture its era of filmmaking. It even earned composer Ennio Morricone his first Oscar. While not entirely noteworthy, The Hateful Eight still gave Tarantino a chance to do what he does best.

8. The Hateful Eight

John Ruth (left) confronts Major Marquis Warren (right)

One thought on “Starting to See Pictures, Ain’t Ya?

  1. I really liked this one but I don’t know that I’m in a huge hurry to rewatch it. I respect it for the airtight integrity of its theatrical structure–like you say, it’s almost more of stage play than a movie. And like in all of QT’s movies, it has moments of absolute profane brilliance and I think the ending is twisted and hilarious in the darkest way possible. Even by QT standards, though (which imo are set pretty far outside the bounds of the conventionally acceptable), the use of the racial epithets is pretty excessive as is some of the violence directed at Daisy Domergue. That said, I found it an enjoyable watch, and like all of QT’s work, one of a kind!

    Liked by 1 person

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