“The Hateful Eight” is a kind of film that could only be made by someone with a high reputation. It’s three hours long, it has lots of dialogues that literally the first ninety minutes is filled almost completely with dialogues, and it demands stellar performances from each and every characters involved. And stellar performances and cheap rarely goes the same road. No, sir, you need someone like Tarantino to convince some businessman to hand you their investment money for this kind of film.
And boy, what a film it turns out to be.
“The Hateful Eight” is easily my pick for the best film of 2015. In fact, given time, I could see it as my pick for the best film of all time. It was that good.
At least for me.
A disclaimer. If you think that Tarantino’s films are a bit on the extreme side of violence, and/or involves too much dialogues, and you don’t quite fancy it as such, then this film is definitely not for you.
“The Hateful Eight” rightfully involves (at least) eight different characters, huddled together in a confined space, which eventuality would dictate that these characters are going into something… chaotic.
Now in order to enjoy this film you had to be invested in the characters. If you can’t find yourself remotely interested to any of its characters during the first few minutes, you might as well leave the film be as you won’t like this film a bit.
The characters, in turn, had to be at their absolute best in order to carry the script. It doesn’t going to matter how good the script was if the characters aren’t going to deliver. There are sayings that some directors are able to pull the best from some actors. I find it to be true as far as Tarantino and his few regulars here. Samuel L. Jackson is an ever commanding presence. Every scene where he leads, he does so in a convincing and menacing demeanour that you had no other choice but to pay attention. Tim Roth draws too much semblance with Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained,” but still is a unique presence. Kurt Russell was at his best, and I think only Tarantino who could make Michael Madsen into a fierce method actor as is evident here. Heck, even the actors who portrays Señor Bob and O.B. who each had a very limited screen time exudes their own best here.
However, I had to give it to Walton Goggins and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Goggins’ character had a complete arc from being what appears to be a “clown token” at the beginning of the film progressing into something else during the entire film and finally turning into something else at the end of the film. You had to watch it to understand but it has been a pleasure to watch.
Jennifer Jason Leigh’s role in this film, however, will draw a separating line. Arguably, the main plot of this film revolves around her character and some will undeniably see her merely as a victim of abuse whose existence is nothing but becoming an object for the other male characters. This of course, won’t bode well with feminists. Can’t really do anything about that. However, as have I, some will see her as the scariest character to walk this film. She had it coming, and she brings it home with such force that both terrifies and awes me. Her resolves at the end of the film which involves a hatchet is a marvel to watch. This, in my book, makes her as one of the strongest female character I’ve seen in a film this year.
All in all, “The Hateful Eight” might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think this is Tarantino at his most smug, and most pretentious. And I am absolutely okay with that. You’re either going to love it as much as I do or not at all. It depends on how you perceive Tarantino. Although love him or hate him, he is still undeniably one of the great directors left active today.