The Hateful Eight (2015)

hate12016.40: The Hateful Eight (Blu-ray)

The Good:

Its beautiful to look at. Its got a great central story, interesting characters, some brilliant casting (Bruce Dern- wonderful!). Its prime cinematic immoderation- fans of Tarantino will adore it. The Morricone score is great (not Oscar-worthy great though), the lifts of out-takes from his score to Carpenter’s The Thing feel oddly perfect. There’s some great tension. There’s a brilliant two-hour film in here.

The Bad:

Does it really need to be a Ultra-Panavision 70mm film? While the format does suit Westerns with their wide-open spaces (I’m thinking of films like Dances With Wolves here, or Sergio Leone’s epics) Tarantino doesn’t really have the eye for widescreen composition of, say, John Carpenter, and once we leave those wide-open spaces and we are confined to Minnie’s Haberdashery, the film becomes much more intimate and that extreme-wide framing rather redundant.

Some of the acting does slip into the over-indulgent. I don’t think Tarantino ever advises his actors to tone it down a notch. Maybe he should.

The Ugly:

It’s loooong. The eventual bloody finale is great but it is an awful loooong time coming (I’m concerned at what repeat-viewing will be like). Would less be more? Some of that casting isn’t so great- (the ever one-note Michael Madsen, sorry but what the hell is he doing in this?). Tarantino’s dialogue feels as unreal as ever- probably works better on a page than it does in a film.


7 thoughts on “The Hateful Eight (2015)

    1. Tricky one. I’m tempted to suggest that if you like Tarantino flicks you’ll like this one but a) that feels like a cop-out, and b) even some Tarantino fans have balked at this one.

      Its even hard to recommend it on the basis of genre, because in some ways it doesn’t function as a ‘pure’ Western and even as a murder mystery it doesn’t function well because it doesn’t lay down any clues to pick up on- it doesn’t really give you sufficient clues to get ahead of the plot. So hard to say whether its worth watching, but I guess if you like Tarantino’s earlier stuff its as good an indication as there is.

      In anycase, don’t worry about spoilers in the ‘review’, there really isn’t any.

  1. I get why Tarantino wanted to shoot this on 70mm, and I think he does use the wide frame well at times (even once in Minnie’s), but I’m not sure it serves that role any better than 2.35:1 would have, and I’m sure there are better showcases for 70mm’s benefits — some of the stuff in Django Unchained, certainly!

    1. Yeah it just seemed a strange choice of projects for Tarantino to go to that format with. It does look beautiful sometimes but wasted in other ways. Its almost like a play, most of it, hardly hugely cinematic. Its a bit like shooting a kitchen-drama in 3D.

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