THE HATEFUL EIGHT
A poorly scripted, slowly paced, but engaging story with predictable violence.
Film Review © 2015 by Trip Reynolds
Pseudo Science-Fiction Drama
Directed and written by Quentin Tarantino. Executive produced by Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, and Georgia Kacandes. Produced by Richard N. Gladstein, Shannon McIntosh, and Stacey Sher. Associate produced by William Paul Clark and Coco Francini.
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson (as Major Marquis Warren), Kurt Russell (as John Ruth), Jennifer Jason Leigh (as Daisy Domergue), Walton Goggins (as Sheriff Chris Mannix), Demián Bichir (as Bob), Tim Roth (as Oswaldo Mobray), Michael Madsen (as Joe Gage), Bruce Dern (as General Sandy Smithers), James Parks (as O.B. Jackson), Dana Gourrier (as Minnie Mink), Zoë Bell (as Six-Horse Judy), Lee Horsley (as Ed), Gene Jones (as Sweet Dave), Keith Jefferson (as Charly), Craig Stark (as Chester Charles Smithers), Belinda Owino (as Gemma), Channing Tatum (as Jody), and a host of others.
Quentin Tarantino likes to use graphic language in his films, in fact, he consistently makes a point of using both graphic language and graphic violence. Accordingly, in keeping with Mr. Tarantino's "cinematic motif," the language of this review must be equally graphic to make a point film goers and Mr. Tarantino will "graphically" understand: Nigger, please! Fuck you Quentin Tarantino! Tarantino, you're not Black, and you don't have a license to use "nigger" for your so-called creative purposes no matter how chummy you are with Samuel L. Jackson or any other colored, Black, or Negro people you might ingratiate.
For nearly three hours we're forced to endure a script anchored to the use of "nigger" as a plot device. This is NOT a slave story. This film is set in the old west, nearly a decade after the Civil War, and far removed from the southern states, in Wyoming of all places! In writing this poorly scripted film, Tarantino clearly failed to do his homework and his stupidity shows. So, let's look at the numbers. Given the story's setting in remote Wyoming, there were not enough "niggers" in Wyoming to make the script believeable. FACT: In 1870, five years after the end of the Civil War, the total population of Wyoming was 9,118. The largest ancestry groups in Wyoming are: German (26.0%), English (16.0%), Irish (13.3%), American (6.5%), Norwegian (4.3%), and Swedish (3.5%) (Source: Wikipedia). As reported in the U.S. Census for 1880, the Wyoming Territory had only 298 Black people (Source: "Black America: A State-by-State Historical Encyclopedia" by Alton Hornsby, Jr.). Nevertheless, in Tarantino's make-believe world, he clustered four-(4) "free" Black people at a very remote Wyoming stage coach stop along with a cluster of Confederate racists just so he could banter "nigger" as a plot device in his script. Even as recently as 2014, as validated by the U.S. Census, the total population of Wyoming was only 584,153 and only 1.6% of the population is Black. But in Tarantino's skewed and blatantly manipulative and racist mind (yes, I said that), at the close of the Civil War he's scripted a cluster of Black people to be remotely stationed in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming. This plot "device" enabled key actors to constantly, to repeatedly refer to Samuel L. Jackson's character, "Major Marquis Warren," as a nigger. Why is this a problem? The story was NOT about niggers!
So, again, fuck you Tarantino for being lazy and racist in your creative process. Instead of setting this film during a Wyoming snow storm in the 1880s old west, the film would have been far more interesting if set during the record-breaking 2014 snow storm in rural Connecticut; kinda like the 2005 film, "Assault on Precinct 13," or the legendary original 1976 film, "Assault on Precinct 13" written, directed, scored, and edited by John Carpenter.
In summary, the story is about freeing a notorious "White" female criminal, Daisy Domergue (nicely played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) from a legendary "White" no-nonsense bounty hunter, John Ruth, wonderfully played by Kurt Russell. During the course of this unnecessarily long [over three-(3) hours] pseudo-epic film, we're exposed to a very deceitful cast of characters common to the who-done-it murder mystery board game "Clue." The film audience is supposed to figure out who's killing off the "hateful eight." The film is presented in various acts; the second act is way too long and verbose; the later acts included some limited narration by Tarantino in an attempt to connect the storyline; plus a flash-back sequence; all culminating to a predictable bloody violent ending.
Kurt Russell is easily the most overlooked and underrated actor in Hollywood. He commands every scene, and he keeps getting better and better. "Bone Tomahawk" is another western released in 2015 that also stars Kurt Russell, and you'll enjoy him in this film as well. Acting by all players in "The Hateful Eight" is great. Jennifer Jason Leigh is particularly adept in delivering a gruff and nasty persona as Daisy Domergue. Unfortunately, several key players, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern are reduced to essentially playing bit parts, which was unfortunate because there was more than enough time during this 187 minute film to make their roles more substantial. The actors and their performances made this film better than the script, which is a reoccurring theme for the cult-like branded films of Quentin Tarantino.
Direction by Tarantino was predicatable and derivative (Sam Peckinpah). Editing by Fred Raskin was sharp, but poorly paced, and film should have been cut by at least 45 minutes. Thankfully the music by Ennio Morricone was not remincient of his greater work with director Sergio Leone ("Once Upon a Time in the West").
Recommendation: Tarantino's 2012 western, "Django Unchained" is a better film. See it, but avoid "The Hateful Eight" until it appears in the $5.00 bin at Walmart. Or, for "reel" excitement, purchase the following two films by legendary director Sam Peckinpah, "The Wild Bunch" and "Straw Dogs."