I'm Still Trying to Figure Out Just Who the 'Eight' Are (12/30/2015)
by Andrew Saladino
'The Hateful Eight': Seriously, I swear there were nine or ten characters...
If Quentin Tarantino is our most self-indulgent filmmaker currently working, then his 8th (8th? Um... sorry, no. 'Kill Bill' is two films, not one, and stop trying to revise history by making us think 'Four Rooms' or 'From Dusk Till Dawn' never happened or that they're not yours, Quentin) film, 'The Hateful Eight', is perhaps his most indulgent. It plays to all of his varied interests- antihero ensemble casts, outrageous gore, pretentious monologues, the n-word, and a slow burn pace. Now, that's perfectly fine most of the time. There are moments in his latest film of genuine suspense and horror and even majesty (one-hundred lucky American theaters get the privilege of projecting the film on glorious 70mm, the way it was intended to be seen), but if this is his most indulgent film, then it is also his most wayward. I've never been the biggest 'Reservoir Dogs' fan but I longed for its sharp ninety-minute runtime.
All hateful eight (plus the extras) do solid work and help that three-hour runtime move along as quick as they can, especially a wickedly fun Jennifer Jason Leigh, but Tarantino is lacking the characters he's had in the past. Samuel L. Jackson is in good form here, but he hasn't been gifted with a character as good as or even close to those he played in 'Pulp Fiction' or 'Django Unchained'. Kurt Russell, as entertaining as he is, is basically doing the same thing he did in 'Death Proof', Michael Madsen is doing the same thing he did in 'Reservoir', and Tim Roth takes on a role that should've been played by Christoph Waltz.
Do take the chance to see it in glorious 70mm though. I can say with full confidence that it's an utter joy.
**1/2 (two and a half stars out of four)
'The Hateful Eight'. Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Channing Tatum, Zoe Bell. Rated R (it's Tarantino- whaddya expect?)