By John Rocker
There’s one thing I want to establish before I begin this review. I’m not a fan of ratings. The purpose of my reviews is to tell you, the reader, whether or not the movie I’m reviewing is worth your time and money.
The best rating I give is “Go see it this weekend” followed by “Wait for DVD/Netflix”, then “Watch if it’s on TV” and then my lowest being “Avoid this film.” Overall, I just find that system to be more useful to me when I’m reviewing films.
I could attach a letter or a number to it, but in the end your views aren’t going to be my views. You can decide that letter or number if you wish. So, what do I look for in a film? I look for a good story with good characters. This film that’s being reviewed here certainly has these qualities.
The Hateful Eight was directed Quentin Tarantino, who also directed films such as Django Unchained and Pulp Fiction. The story takes place in a post Civil War era in a snowy Wyoming where eight strangers are snowed in a lodge due to a blizzard.
Tensions run high as these strangers don’t trust each other because it appears not everybody is who they say they are. The movie becomes a “who done it” as our bounty hunter protagonists Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and John Ruth “The Hangman” (Kurt Russell) try to figure out if everyone in the lodge is who they say they are. The story takes some good twists and turns and it wasn’t too predictable.
What helped these characters were the performances from actors such as Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walter Goggins and Jennifer Jason Leigh. If you’ve seen any of Tarantino’s films, there are a lot of his trademarks that you’ll notice, such as the clever yet vulgar dialogue violence. When the movie gets bloody, it escalates quickly but it makes sense to the story.
There is a lot of good to say about this film. Tarantino does such a great job of creating a fully realized world, despite the setting being set in one spot mostly. Tarantino is also able to create intriguing characters that are well rounded ones.
These characters certainly fit the title’s name, as they have done some hateful things in the past, but there are moments that humanize them. It’s these moments that make the characters feel like people rather than just characters, which contributes to the fully realized world.
The cinematography is also well done. When the movie begins in the wilderness, a majority of the shots are wide and show the frozen and open landscapes. Once the film moves inside the lodge, there is a sense of restriction as the shots are tighter and close.
The lodge is big enough to allow some space between characters so it doesn’t feel too cramped, but the difference between the outdoors and indoors is noticeable. The run time for this film is three hours and the pacing can be a bit slow, but it’s to build up the characters and since the characters are well made, you stay with the film.
This film isn’t for everybody. If you’re a fan of Tarantino’s work, you’ll enjoy this film. If you’re not a fan of grotesque violence and slow burn progression, you might want to pass on this film.
Overall, The Hateful Eight is another well-crafted Tarantino film with a good story and great characters. Recommendation: Go see it this weekend.