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.