Quentin Tarantino has one of the most recognisable directorial styles out there, when you see one of his films, you know straight away that it’s his. After the success of Django Unchained in 2012 there was plenty of anticipation for his next project and when it turned out to be The Hateful Eight, set in the western era there was plenty to get excited for, but when the release time got closer and it was sadly decided for certain reasons that the film would not get a full release and would only appear in certain cinemas. Not getting a full nation-wide release in the UK certainly cut down the hype and chatter about the film, and despite the massive production that it is, it managed to pass by fairly quietly but as it is now readily available, it’s a good time to talk about it. When a bounty hunter is taking his prisoner to meet justice and gets trapped in a blizzard they must take shelter at the closest cabin, but that cabin is already inhabited by several interesting people. Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, James Parks and Channing Tatum.
Now anyone who has seen more than one of Tarantino’s films will be able to tell that he does tend to like using actors he’s familiar with and so they appear repeatedly throughout his filmography, most frequently Jackson. Jackson tends to play very similar characters throughout Tarantino’s films and though this role still has a hint of that, there’s something different to it, slightly more refined or intelligent that gives him a new edge and it’s very interesting to watch, he’s still all ready for violence and being foul mouthed but yet this character of Major Marquis Warren, fellow bounty hunter to Russell’s John Ruth, feels refreshingly different. As for the rest of the cast, the next stand out would of course be Leigh as Daisy Domergue, she is wonderfully awful and backwards and just a pure joy to watch her get herself into more trouble than she already is, and it is no wonder she got the Oscar nomination after seeing it (though she had no chance against Brie Larson). The first thing however to be truly thankful for with this film is that Tim Roth DOES NOT have to do an American accent, finally he does not have to use that terrible, whiny, eardrum piercing, clichéd accent he attempted for reservoir dogs, and besides that his performance is actually quite good, as is the whole cast. There’s really nothing to complain about with performances for this film, it’s a great group of actors that were chosen and the only complaint I might make is how much of a shame it is Zoe Bell didn’t have more screen time, being a wonderful stuntwoman turned actress.
The film itself starts off feeling like a bit of a slow burn but when you stick with it the story draws you in and it’s utterly captivating, yet again Tarantino has managed to pass the 2 and a half hour mark for a film and make it not drag on like most. That slow start means that it will grab your attention before you even know it and have your eyes glued to the screen for the remainder because the plot is so brilliant that you’ll be dying to know what’s going to happen and how things will end up. Though you can clearly see Tarantino’s style all throughout the film it still feels different, it follows the same path of violence, language and blood but it’s much more story centric that it feels even more clever than his other recent films, going back to the days of Jackie Brown and it has a great balance of the blood and violence versus the storytelling, that’s a thrill to watch. Given also that the film takes place for the majority in one cabin, which is not particularly big, it doesn’t feel claustrophobic for a second, mixing the cabin with shots of the blizzard as well as wide open shots of the mountains and surrounding areas make it feel like a fairly vast film which is quite the clever mind bender since it does take place in a closed off cabin.
Tarantino succeeds yet again, it’s clear how much care and attention that he puts into his films and they thrive on it, it’s a fantastic story that’s gripping, funny and entirely entertaining. The film refrains from walking the line of being entirely predictable and still has some unexpected turns, the cast don’t disappoint and create quite the interesting group of people to have in one room, Django may have got much more attention, but this one definitely deserved just as much.