The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino, 2015)

Quentin Tarantino’s films have always been renowned for their respective insularity – a trait that’s defined the man’s career time and again through the creation and expansion of a universe all his own. His knack for dialogue notwithstanding, Tarantino’s proclivities for nihilistic violence and vulgarity are laced with an obvious air of craft and intelligence, both of which combine to produce one nigh-masterpiece after another. His eighth film follows in the footsteps of its immediate two predecessors (Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) in the sense that the beauty is in the details, however a penchant for self-indulgent meandering tends to ring more prominent than the auteur’s broader preceding endeavors.

The film’s title of course refers to the eccentric central troupe of mismatched individuals, of whom are marooned by a snowstorm inside a remote mountainside cabin. At the forefront are hangman John Ruth (Kurt Russell), the soon-to-be-hanged Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), the lot of which soon succumb to an elongated albeit fateful run-in with the bulk of misfits at The Hateful Eight‘s core. Nastiness ensues in gleeful abundance.

The Hateful Eight‘s ability to engage again relies entirely on an immensity of particulars only Tarantino could concoct. Although the setting is purposefully confining in an effort to (successfully) sustain tension, the sheer amount of information thrown around from moment to moment transforms the proceedings into something more palpably plodding than is expected. From here we’re left with a decidedly nihilistic mean streak of unfiltered tirades and trademark violence that’s especially jarring given a languid build-up. It’s all excellently implemented and executed amid a lot of expository hodgepodge that serves to immerse despite some narrative and, well, more visceral messiness.

Although my inability to express my thoughts in a timely enough manner haunts me given my love for the man at the helm, not even the 70mm Roadshow engagement I was in attendance for could rectify the film’s shortcomings. While this experience in particular glorifies the grandiosity of Tarantino’s singular artistry, The Hateful Eight‘s objectively anarchic sense of self can’t help but ring self-indulgent. It’s assured and pretty fantastic filmmaking to be sure if an easy means of garnering detractors among those familiar or not with Tarantino’s repute.


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