If you want the short and to-the-point of this review, here it is: if Quentin Tarantino’s previous movies haven’t won you over yet, then this movie will certainly do you no favors. If you are a fan of his, then I would highly recommend this movie.
Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I enjoy his movies a lot, but I really don’t consider myself a devotee like I did when I was nineteen and twenty. I dialogued with myself a long time on whether or not I would watch this movie in theaters since it would undoubtedly show up on Netflix in six or seven months. However, when I saw the film being praised by people on Facebook whose opinions I respect (an instance that’s becoming more and more of a rarity), I decided I was doing a disservice to myself by not watching it now. So, here I am. Sorry I’m late to the game.
The movie met almost all of my expectations.
For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. The dialogue was creatively spot on, the attention to detail was flawless, the acting was close to perfection, and the twists and turns in the narrative were fantastic. It was nice to be thoroughly surprised by a movie again.
The movie only had one expectation unmet: it exceeded my expectation about how brutal it was going to be. Now, brutality in movies is not a turnoff for me (one of my favorite movies is still Fight Club), and seeing horrendous violence in a movie from time to time gives a sense of realism and unexpectedness to a movie. However, the older I get, the more I find that there’s a limit to how much I’m willing to take. The Hateful Eight is probably the most brutal movie of Tarantino’s collection (unless Jackie Brown is worse. I haven’t seen that one yet).
There’s only a few scenes where the violence is over the top for me, so it doesn’t affect my rating too much, but considering it’s the main reason why I cannot recommend this movie to a large audience (like Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds), it affects the rating slightly.
Samuel L. Jackson’s character is one of the best and worst things about this movie.
I cannot think of a performance in this movie that was better than Samuel L. Jackson’s. I found myself enjoying Tim Roth’s character the most on screen, but based on how the movie is handled, you could argue that The Hateful Eight was made primarily for Jackson. Luckily for Tarantino lovers, he plays the most phenomenal character out of all of the phenomenal characters in the movie.
There’s some parts in this movie, however, where it feels like Jackson’s character was preaching to the audience, and I almost rolled my eyes a few times. I can appreciate when a film stands for a certain message, but when you give a character pieces of dialogue that are obviously trying to hit you over the head with an agenda, it comes off as tired and obnoxious. Considering those pieces of dialogue were the only parts that took me out of the movie, it was worth noting.
There’s also a scene where Jackson is telling a story, and without spoiling anything, it made me so disgusted that I almost rooted for the racist general to shoot him to death. I’m taking this down as a negative.
I ultimately enjoyed this movie. I liked it more than Django Unchained and both Kill Bill Movies. But I liked it less than Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Basterds. I can’t tell if I like it more or less than Pulp Fiction.
I wish I could walk out of The Hateful Eight and say that I could recommend it to anyone, but the only people I would ever recommend this movie to are Tarantino fans. I will probably watch it again when it comes on Netflix so that I can catch some things I missed on the first viewing (and so that I can watch it without being distracted by the stupid, obnoxious older couple behind me who apparently don’t know how to turn off their phones, couldn’t silently unwrap the candy they snuck in, and couldn’t keep quiet in parts of the movie that weren’t even funny… but I digress). However, considering I had no issues with the logic or consistency in the movie (like I did for other movies), I doubt my rating on it will change much, and I’m giving this movie a 7 out of 10.