Movie Review: “The Hateful Eight” – Frontier Justice!

Written by Jesse Gelinas January 02, 2016

The Hateful Eight

Russell, Jackson, Leigh, Madsen, Roth, Goggins, Dern, Bichir – The Hateful Eight

2015 comes to a close with the final major release of the year, and it is a doozy. he eighth film by Quentin Tarantino, the bloody Western-thriller, The Hateful Eight. Hot off the heels of his Oscar-winning Django Unchained, Tarantino brings yet another period piece full of big names and monologues. There was quite a bit of speculation that the film wouldn’t see the light of day when an early draft of the script leaked online a while back. Luckily for moviegoers, Tarantino knows when not to hold a grudge. The same can not be seen for our eight hateful “heroes.” The film is filled with guns, knives, blood, sweat, shouting, racism, violence, and everything else that makes a Tarantino film three hours of fun.

Some time after the Civil War, bounty hunter John Ruth is transporting his prisoner Daisy Domergue to hang in Red Rock, Wyoming. Along the way they pick up Major Marquis Warren, and the rebel renegade Chris Mannix. The four travelers find themselves out of luck outrunning a blizzard and find shelter at Minnie’s Haberdashery. Inside they find cowboy Joe Gage, executioner Oswaldo Mobray, Confederate General Smithers, and Bob the Mexican. The eight lodgers are stuck together, waiting out the storm. But someone has a secret. Someone is working with Domergue. And everyone’s chances of reaching Red Rock alive are now slim to nil.

“The good thing about frontier justice, is that it’s quite thirst quenching.”

This is a Tarantino flick through and through. That means its wordy in the best possible way. Every conversation is an intellectual debate, even if the character speaking, his point, and his words aren’t remotely intellectual. Tarantino really manages to strike that perfect balance between dialogue that can sound entirely realistic, while at the same time, being ridiculously entertaining and unique. He is sort of the anti-Sorkin in that regard. It’s certainly an actor’s film, every line of dialogue an opportunity to shine. The film is packed with great lines from start to finish, and they’re all complimented by great delivery from the film’s all-star cast.

Major Warren's bounty in The Hateful Eight

“Got room for one more?”

The Hateful Eight digs deep into the Tarantino rolodex for its cast. Constant collaborator Samuel L Jackson owns his role as the clever, calculating former soldier, Warren. He’s the closest the film has to a lead, and he fills the role perfectly. Veterans Michael Madsen and Tim Roth pop up for the first time in too long to lend endlessly entertaining supporting roles. Kurt Russell (who already led a fantastic western this year in Bone Tomahawk) has the chops and the moustache to fit right in with these old Tarantino favourites. Where things really stand out is the performances of both Walton Goggins and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Both own the screen when they speak, and manage to rise above the rest of the cast with truly impressive turns as the kind of characters you love to hate. I can only hope this means more mainstream work for Goggins, who had been spinning his wheels for the past six years on FX’s Justified.

“I’ll bust you in the mouth right in front of these people. I don’t give a fuck!”

In true Tarantino fashion, The Hateful Eight manages to mix an absurd amount of blood and violence with just the right amount of comedy, and excitement. The film is a true slow-burn, and the bullets don’t fly for some time. But when they do, it’s often, and it’s through flesh and bone. Putting aside the cartoony violence of Kill Bill or Death Proof, this may just be Tarantino’s most brutal film in terms of pure meanness. The violence is mean. Perfectly fitting for a hateful film about hateful people.

Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight


Some may find the film’s runtime a bit indulgent, and they’d be right. The Hateful Eight clocks in at just over or under three hours (depending on the version you see. perhaps not every minute is “necessary,” but for fans of the genre and the auteur, not a moment is wasted. There is always something to appreciate. From the acting, to the authentic set pieces, to the tremendous original score from Ennio Morricone (the legend). There is something for almost any kind of film buff.

“There wasn’t no fortune to be found. All they found was me.”

When I think of Quentin Tarantino, my mind drifts to Michelangelo (the Ninja Turtle, not the artist). Yes, he may talk a little goofy, and his peers might rag on him for his childish behaviour and lame jokes. But when all is said and done, he has the most raw talent of his generation. Give him a simple idea, enthusiastic actors, and the freedom to decide just how long his movie needs to be, and he’ll deliver magnum opus after magnum opus. The Hateful Eight might not be his masterpiece, but it is another feather in the cap of a master filmmaker who loves making movies.

My Rating: 9/10

Theatrical poster for The Hateful Eight

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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