Jean-Paul’s Rating: 4/5 stars
Bottom Line: A minimalist movie with a maximal punch. Full of colorful characters and great storytelling. In other words, your standard Quentin Tarantino fare.
Ah, good storytelling. You don’t run into it very often these days. Luckily, Quentin Tarantino is still making movies. Say what you want about his excessive violence and grotesque use of blood (more on that later), the man knows how to tell a story.
After the success of the magnificent “Django Unchained” which was an expansive journey film, Tarantino has followed it up with what can only be called a minimalist journey film. I mean, sure, 95% of the movie is set in a run down general store in the middle of the wintry Wyoming plains, but the whole story revolves around how the occupants got there and where they’re going. As you can probably tell from the title, the occupants are hateful and there’s eight of them. They’re pretty much exactly what you’d expect to find traveling the post-Civil War Wyoming wasteland; bounty hunters, prisoner, sheriff, hangman, cowpoke, confederate general, and stagecoach driver. At least I think it was post-Civil War. I’m pretty sure that Wyoming is still filled with the same characters and stagecoach continues to be the preferred method of transportation. At least such is my understanding.
Quentin Tarantino has a list of about 20 people that he is allowed to cast in his movies and most of them are in this one. Samuel Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, James Park, all in this movie and all in at least one other Tarantino film. I’m pretty sure Tarantino keeps half of them in cold storage and only thaws them out for his movies. That leaves just one of the eight unaccounted for: Jennifer Jason Leigh as the outlaw Daisy Domergue. Because there can only be one woman in any Tarantino film.
It’s later. I don’t get why Tarantino insists on ending his films with violent bloodbaths. Don’t get me wrong, his stories always evolve in a way where a violent ending is assured, but the bloody splashes and head burstings just don’t do much for his films. Don’t get me wrong, I like movies featuring fountains of blood and dismemberments with a rusty hacksaw as much as the next guy, but in Tarantino’s films, they always seem more of a stain on the movie than anything else.
I would put “The Hateful Eight” right around the level of “Pulp Fiction”. So second or third best of Tarantino’s movies. “Django Unchained” is clearly the best. If you disagree, you continue to be not very fun at parties.