It's a bit like John Carpenter’s The Thing transposed to a cabin setting. No monsters, just a villains, say. Tarantino even uses some of The Thing soundtrack by Morricone to make the point. The movie is over two-and-a-half hours of people in one room, basically like a play, which is what it is really. It's seems over-long given that. And did it really need to be shot entirely in 70mm as only the intro, outro, and some connecting scenes are fully cinematic?
It feels a bit like a vanity piece as some have pointed out, but, hey, if he wants to do it that way, let him, in my view. More of a problem is his treatment of race. In the past his films, like Django, have riffed on race hatred, but it sort of worked there, counter-intuitively, as a slavery revenge piece.
There is also a lot of race hatred in The Hateful Eight. That's most of the hate that is in it. But it feels purely sadistic here, as if QT simply enjoys riling up race hatred on both sides – both Black and White. There's lots of anti-White talk, anti-Black talk; there's even some very colourful anti-Mexican talk in this one. But strangely – or not so strangely – there is no anti-Jewish talk! Given his recent political statements, this "appetite for destruction," to borrow a Gunner’s phrase, may also be true of him as a person.
|Weinstein brothers, rubbing their hands|
There is also some rather explicit misogyny, where poor ol’ Jennifer Jason Leigh is beat on endlessly and cruelly by Kurt Russell and others in a rather vile display of female hatred. This is something that the story dynamic does not exactly require.
So, QT’s eighth film is as hateful as its title suggests – and a bit of a mixed bag overall. The performances admittedly are all great to very good, and for about two hours it fully holds you, but again it could have been edited a bit, and you can't help but feel that QT needs to be given a talking to by someone he respects.
I will see it in 70mm – just to see how it looks that way. But I'll be in no mad rush to do so, as, on some level, this is a truly nasty and hateful piece of work. Especially noteworthy is the monologue, where Sam Jackson describes the homosexual rape and murder of his son to Bruce Dern’s character, a retired Confederate General. That will certainly rile a few people on this site and on the Alt-Right in general. No doubt that’s the intention. So, you have been warned.