The Hateful Eight (2015)

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‘The Hateful Eight’ – new Tarantino review

So I finally watched The Hateful Eight – double hurrah! Did I enjoy it? Of course I fucking did. I love Quentin Tarantino and I loved his 8th movie. Though I’m not going to lie to you, this review was a struggle and took me the best part of a week. Why? I don’t know. Writer’s block I guess and it’s not the first time it’s happened. I found it hard even knowing what to say – like, what do I say? What do I even think?!

I thought it might help to break the review up into cool-Quentin-Tarantino-style-chapters and though it didn’t help at all I thought they were groovy and worth keeping.

There are no spoilers in this review, not even tiny weeny ones. Not even a hint. Not even a sign of that annoying person who says “I won’t ruin it for you, but I just have to tell you this one thing…………..”. So if anyone wants to discuss things further – tweet me bro.

Chapter One – Introduction 

The Hateful Eight is Tarantino’s first proper Western, that doesn’t actually feel like a Western at all. Mind you the Q-Man did admit its entirely influenced by 80s horror classic The Thing, which was the only movie he let the cast watch before filming. O-Kay then. Makes sense to me…

Actually it does make sense, in the way that the story has an isolated feel and is full of distrust among the characters – I didn’t just mean that Kurt Russell is rocking the hairy-in-the-snow look again.

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The premise is simple – eight ‘hateful’ people are snowed up in a tavern, unable to leave during bad weather. Some of them know each other, some of them don’t. But one of them is holding onto precious bounty in the shape of Dasiy Domergue – a wanted criminal with a high price on her head. Revelations, gun shots and dialogue ensues. What will happen before the final credits roll?

The Hateful Eight has a very ‘murder mystery / Agatha Christie’ feel, as well as invariably drawing comparisons to Reservoir Dogs. And The Thing!

Chapter Two – The Ennio Morricone Original Score

I was very, very and extremely excited to hear the main score from The Hateful Eight. I actually bought the soundtrack back in December (bad arse) but of course couldn’t listen to it until I’d seen the film. Fitting a three hour film into my life is never easy (that’s three episodes of Celebrity Big Brother) but somehow, on the 6th February, I did it.

As soon as the score (and the movie) started I was actually quite annoying. Grinning a lot with a ‘knowing’ expression, bobbing up in my chair and looking around for other reactions from people that I clearly wasn’t going to get. I suddenly thought “oh my god I’m about to watch the eighth Quentin Tarantino movie!”.

Ennio Morricone wrote the music, which is why I was acting like a kid on Skittles. Tarantino has been hot for Morricone for years and used many of his old scores but NEVER BEFORE has Morricone written him an original piece of music. He did write a song – which was performed in Django Unchained, but The Hateful Eight is the first Tarantino movie to ever include an original Ennio Morricone score. Cool huh? No wonder QT decided to make a Western (of sorts).

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And despite tight deadlines, Morricone did not disappoint. Though I must say it’s not the score I was expecting. Maybe it’s wishful thinking but given the genre I was kind of expecting more ‘cowboy’ and ‘Sergio Leone’. Maybe some whistling or something?

But Morricone’s main score sounds modern, rather creepy and adventurous. It has a very mischievous sound to it – almost malevolent at times, which sets the tone for The ‘Hateful’ (they don’t call them them for nothing) Eight nicely. And because this is an original score there’s a first for a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack – variations of the  main theme are played throughout the film.

It’s already won a ton of awards including Best Original Music at the BAFTAs just last night. Listen to it here, but only if you’ve seen the movie okay?

Chapter Three – The Characters and The Actors

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The actors are mainly Tarantino regulars (of course) and I think the only two of the actual ‘eight’ who hadn’t worked with him before were Demian Bichir and Jennifer Jason Leigh. And did you know he originally  wanted Jennifer Lawrence for the role of Daisy?

It’s annoying but I can’t really go into much detail about any of them – not unless you want to be second-guessing what happens. Obviously they are all hateful, but some are more hateful than others and if I start talking about a fondness for someone well that could give stuff away. I don’t like to say too much about film plots anyway, I think most things are better watched with little knowledge.

But the usual attention-to-detail was present in the shape of cool references and clues. Like you know how Michael Madsen is called Vic Vega in Reservoir Dogs and John Travolta is Vince Vega in Pulp Fiction? Stuff like that. And all the performances good with no complaints from me. Though I must say Michael Madsen – for whatever mental reason – reminded me a bit of a drag queen.

All of the characters are somewhat of a mystery and it feels like our job – as the viewer – to try and work it out as we go along. Nothing much is explained about anyone, save for what you can pick up from the typical-Tarantino-conversational-dialogue. Piece together who you should and shouldn’t trust. Figure out who’s talking straight and who’s spinning the yarn. And most importantly, ask yourself who would you rather be stuck in a lift with.

Chapter Four – The Story and The Script

As previously mentioned The Hateful Eight has a bit of an Agatha Christie feel (gotta be The Mousetrap) but I must say it feels rather like a stage play anyway. Not because of the dialogue exactly, but to me it strongly felt that there were two separate parts to the story. I know the 70mm versions played with an intermission anyway but even on the regular edit you could feel that half-time gap. Even now I can remember exactly when it happened and just as I was starting to feel a fidget in me, the curtain came down and out came the girl with the ice creams. Not literally (boo) but it did feel fresh again.

The dialogue, in my humble opinion, was brilliant. I am biased because I love QT scripts and if you’re anything like me you’re instantly involved, absorbed and the minutes roll by unnoticed. On that front the guy never disappoints and I was shocked, amused and speculating throughout.

I did wonder once or twice about the re-watchability because it’s a rather long, drawn out mystery that surely might lose something when fully aware of twists and conclusion. But in hindsight there is nothing to ponder, in all honesty it will take two or three watches before I even understand everything and I’m looking forward to piecing together some of the early clues. Quentin wrote the script to make us work, he didn’t just ‘give us all the answers’ in a flowery basket (with ice cream), a lot of things are left up to us to decide. There is no real answer – only hints and our imaginations.

Last Chapter – My Verdict

I enjoyed The Hateful Eight a lot. I’m actually pretty excited to watch it again so I can get to know it even better. I know it may not be what some people expect but it’s still one of the best movies I’ve seen it ages. And I queued up for Zoolander 2 on Saturday night so don’t think you’re not dealing with a major connoisseur here.

It may be tad over long. And it is a little odd in places, I think you can tell Tarantino is trying to be mature and clever as well as having control over a much bigger budget than the old days. But it still has his vibe from the yellow title writing to the Red Apple tobacco and you know what, I’m listening to the soundtrack right now and every time a piece of dialogue comes on I’m smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

Apart from another sublime soundtrack and the ‘ultra violence’ he’s known for, the writing has Tarantino written all over it and that’s always a winner for me.

So are him and Tim Roth arguing here or what?

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About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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86 Responses to The Hateful Eight (2015)

  1. Urspo says:

    Well I feel fatuous: I stop by regularly hoping to see you posting. But apparently I was always given 1/1/16 entry as if you haven’t posted anything since that date. I just figured it out you are blogging yes. I will be more on top of things.

  2. Great review. You’re spot on with yoyr analysis. I agree with most of it. I love Tarantino too. Love his deliberate pacing, but this felt slow towards the end (after intermission?). I actually thought Bone Tomahawk (streaming) was the best Tarantino flick last year… and I know that’s saying a lot. Bonus nerd points for Red Apple easter egg 😉

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Dan that means a lot from a cinephile like yourself 🙂

      I found it a tad slow maybe 15-20 minutes leading up to the intermission, I enjoyed the revelations of the second part though I agree it felt slow at times towards the end. Who did you like best? I liked Kurt Russell’s character but Samuel L Jackson was the most interesting and shocking haha.

      Did you mean to say Bone Tomahawk was the best Kurt Russell movie?

      Haha I always notice the red apple stuff!!! 😀

      • Don’t make me blush 😉 Thanks though. The biggest offense of H8 was the Tarantino narration. It seemed to go down hill from there. Even the violence with SLJ got sort of cartoony. My fav parts were the way up to the cabin. I really enjoyed the set-up and wondering who Jackson was (good or bad). I laughed every time they mentioned the door. I loved how my opinion on Goggins shifted over the story. He was a surprise. And Bone Tomahawk I think I said was the best Tarantino movie all year – as in it outdid H8 but also had the same flavours. I can’t wait for more from S. Craig Zahler!

        • emmakwall says:

          Oh my god I pretty much thought EXACTLY the same as you!! I disliked the narration also, seemed weird. Whereas when SLJ narrated Inglourious Basterds it didn’t seem so weird. My favourite part also was the ride up to the cabin too! I thought SLJ was ‘kinder’ to begin with, I did enjoy seeing his super hateful character unfold!

          I too enjoyed watching Goggins, by the end I kinda respected the guy! He was a surprise. Kurt Russell was my fave 🙂

          • Right on #writeon – Narrations can be done right. I loved Goodfellas for example. But it wasn’t like Scorsese himself was addressing the audience. For me, I can get behind voiceovers if I’m really curious to know what a character is thinking. In Goodfellas, I think a lot of are interested in knowing what a gangster thinks about and how they justify their lifestyle. On the other hand, I despise a narration that ruins interpretation (like early cut of Blade Runner) or when it force feeds us plot / motivations. It’s always a pleasure getting nerdy with ya.

  3. Natasha says:

    Thanks for the spoiler free review! I still need to get to this and hope I love it too. I am slowly but surely falling deeply in love with Tarantino. He is so crazy and insanely talented. Right now my favorite of his is Inglorious basterds. It changes often though hehe.

    Oh and on a completely different note, my pc at work blocks your site as an adult site. I thought that would amuse you endlessly hahaha.

    • emmakwall says:

      Woo!!! Thanks Natasha! 🙂

      I LOVE Inglourious Basterds, that’s definitely my favourite movie of his post 2000. Who were your favourite characters? He is so talented isn’t he! I love him because he mkaes HIS movie, he writes his story and script, he chooses his actors and music, he does want HE wants and so many Hollywood directors just take the screenplays they’re given and make a movie out of it. I like Quentin because he tells his own story, if that makes sense? He creates his own vision. He’s quite unique and though he’s big and mainstream, still has that cult/independent thing going on.

      Sorry for essay!! Lol. I LOVE that I’m blocked as an adult site hahahaha! The mind boggles!!!! 😀

  4. table9mutant says:

    Excellent review, Emma! I’m SO mad I missed out on this one (it was sold out & I had to go to The Big Short instead, which I hated). I think I’m looking forward to the score more than anything! I love that I have a fellow fan of scores now – it amazes me that most people don’t even notice a film’s score! Also, I’m a Jennifer Jason Leigh fan so want to see her performance. 🙂

    • emmakwall says:

      Aww, thanks Miss! 😀 made my day.

      Oh I’m sorry you missed this and had to watch The Big Short, boo, hiss!

      I’m glad we’re fellow fans of scores too 🙂 it makes a change and ditto, I was so excited to hear this one! VERY BIG DEAL!!!!!!

      Jennifer Jason Leigh was fab, I know you’ll enjoy this one 🙂

      • table9mutant says:

        I’m sure I will. 🙂 I actually started watching The Good, The Bad And The Ugly last night and that score is just so damn amazing.

        • emmakwall says:

          OMG one of my all time favourite soundtracks!!!! Ecstasy of Gold and The Trio are my favourite tracks, they’re so damn atmospheric, dramatic, amazing!!!! I actually feel kind of incredible when I listen to them sometimes, it’s powerful music. It’s stuff like this and Once Upon a Time in the West (the harmonic music!!) that really got me into Morricone 🙂

          • table9mutant says:

            Hell yeah! Hehe – I like that music like this makes you feel incredible. I know exactly what you mean. Music can be some pretty powerful shit when done right! And Morricone does it right. 🙂

  5. J. says:

    Caught this last week (finally) and thought it was ace. Tarantino definitely back on form (I didn’t love Django Unchained … in fact, I felt pretty in different about it – the only one of his movies I feel that way about) and the subtle nods to some great movies in there also. Beautiful.

    • emmakwall says:

      I felt the same about Django Unchained, I’ve only seen it twice and the second time I fell asleep before the end! (I do have a habit of doing that anyway I hasten to add!)

      I LOVE the start of it, the first 30-40 minutes. Not sure if it’s my least favourite QT movie though, I’ve only seen it twice so hard to say. Never been AS keen on the Kill Bill movies but then to be fair there’s never a dull moment in them and the soundtracks do rock! Hmmm!

      I can’t wait to watch The Hateful Eight again, I loved Kurt Russell’s character the most but Samuel L Jackson undoubtedly was the most interesting 🙂

      • J. says:

        Django was way too long, I reckon. Was doing fine right up till Candyland, but I got a bit bored after that.

        I reckon the Kill Bill movies are my favourite(s). Uneven (Part 2 being dialogue heavy – but great dialogue), but great. The Hateful Eight is definitely up there with my top Quentin picks.

        • emmakwall says:

          Yeah exactly! Films don’t need to be mega long in the first place!

          Don’t get me wrong, I do like the Kill Bill movies, compared to some films I postively love them! But if I was gong to grade all Tarantino movies they’re be nearer the bottom. Only because I love the others more 🙂

          I’m not sure which out of the two I prefer, I like scenes from both! Ditto on the soundtracks though maybe the first one does have the edge there.

  6. vinnieh says:

    I do like the sound of this movie. Plus, you’ve gotta see Bone Tomahawk sister, it rocks.

  7. jwforeva says:

    Nice review Emma! I found it very entertaining too, but sadly the film overall can’t help but feel a little pointless. In my opinion, this is Tarantino’s weakest film because it lacked the extra something deeper. I liked the characterization of Samuel L Jackson’s character though. It was like a joy-ride through violence without finding something more meaningful. JJ Leigh’s acting was superb but the treatment of her character felt too base, I wondered what her charcater’s function actually was. Having said all that, it was still super entertaining 🙂 There, I hope I’m not too scathing in my review HAHA 🙂

    Oh Ems check out my recent posts, I have a few up, hope you like em!

    • emmakwall says:

      You’re not too scathing at all 🙂 I understand your points entirely and some of the characters did feel rather redundant, when compared to older movies. The characterization of Sam Jackson was brilliant!!! John Ruth was my personal favourite character (Kurt Russell) but seeing how evil Samuel L Jackson really was, was probably the most interesting thing in the film. I thought he was someone more to trust at the beginning then he just got fouler and fouler! It was outrageous! I also liked the Sheriff who I thought was more of a joke at the beginning, then came to respect towards the end.

      In all honesty I will have to watch a few more times until I come up with a definitive conclusion 🙂 and yes I will check your posts out!!!

  8. beetleypete says:

    My comment seems to have gone somewhere, but I will answer your reply.
    I did know that Rodriguez made ‘From Dusk’, but as QT wrote it, and acted in it, I always regard it as one of his films in a roundabout sort-of way.
    ‘Dogs’ was a remake of the film ‘City on Fire’ (1987), not ‘Rashomon, which is a Japanese film, directed by the mighty Kurosawa. QT used the same story, and copied many of the scenes completely. (His admission) Here’s a link to the Chow Yun-Fat original. It’s worth a watch. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093435/
    I generally like QT films more than I dislike them, and think it’s great that we all seem to have different favourites from his work over the years.He does appear to love cinema, and knows a lot about films too. For that, I also find him very endearing.
    As ever, Pete. xx

    • emmakwall says:

      Hmmm, I wouldn’t call Reservoir Dogs a remake. I’d say it just borrows from the plot of City on Fire. Tarantino movies are so unique. The characters and dialogue make them special. I know he brazenly admits to stealing from most movies he’s watched of course! But it’s like he turns his own love and excitement for something, into something else for us 🙂 xxx

  9. vinnieh says:

    I loved the way you structured this review Emma, really inventive sister.

  10. beetleypete says:

    My relationship with QT films has been up and down over the years. I thought ‘Dogs’ was cool, and loved the soundtrack, but I got annoyed about it being a remake of the Chinese original, and because Tarantino insisted on playing one of the roles. Then came ‘Pulp Fiction’, the only film I have ever clapped after it finished. I know that you love ‘Dusk till Dawn’, and I would have loved it more too, if he hadn’t acted in it. Let’s face it, he can’t act. ‘Jackie Brown’ is one of my favourite modern films ever, so for me, that’s his best.
    I watched both ‘Kill Bill’s’ but can take or leave them, to be frank. ‘Inglorious Basterds’ was too messy to take seriously, and the grindhouse pair left me unmoved.
    I have ‘Django Unchained’ on the PVR, still not watched, and I am finding it very hard to get excited about this new film. Still, your stylish and positive review has made me a little keener to see it.
    Best wishes, Pete. xx

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks very much Pete!!! Watch it one day definitely but no hurry 🙂

      Reservoir Dogs is definitely one of my favourites. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds are my fave Tarantino movies. The Kill Bills are my least favourite, though they had brilliant soundtracks and still fun to watch.

      Jackie Brown and Django Unchained are just somewhere in the middle for me really. Both great films but nothing that made me feel too over the top.

      From Dusk till Dawn wasn’t made by Quentin Tarantino, it was made by Robert Rodriguez but Tarantino did write the screenplay which is why people always get that wrong! But it’s actually Rodriguez’s film. From Dusk till Dawn is my all time favourite movie and has been since the first time I watched it as a teenager 🙂 (as I’m sure you know already!)

      It sounds to me like you mostly enjoy his films Pete! I do too but of course there are always weak links. Mainly I love him because he does what HE wants to do, he doesn’t get a script off anyone, he writes his own. He chooses his cast and he chooses his music. He makes HIS movie and I can’t think of many mainstream directors who do that save for Scorsese.

      As far as Reservoir Dogs goes, I think he made his own film once again and any comparisons with Rashomon are just that – comparisons! 🙂 I wouldn’t call it a remake myself but Tarantino is the first to admit he steals ideas from every movie he watches lol and enjoys making a homage. I think he just loves cinema to be honest and gets over excited about things.

      Best wishes to you too Pete! And Ollie!! xx

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