Reviewed by: David Criswell, Ph.D.
|Featuring:|| Kurt Russell … John Ruth
Jennifer Jason Leigh … Daisy Domergue
Channing Tatum … Jody
Samuel L. Jackson … Major Marquis Warren
Walton Goggins … Sheriff Chris Mannix
Tim Roth … Oswaldo Mobray
Zoë Bell (Zoe Bell) … Six-Horse Judy
Michael Madsen … Joe Gage
Bruce Dern … General Sandy Smithers
|Producer:||The Weinstein Company|
|Distributor:||The Weinstein Company|
There is something in human nature that revels in darkness. The forbidden, the sinful, the dark, and even the evil all have a fascination for man. It is proof that man is lost without the Lord, and it is proof that we revel in our sin. Here is a director who openly confesses that his films are inspired by the exploitation films of the 70s. Yes, Tarantino imitates bad exploitation films. So my question has always been “what makes him so popular”? Why do critics rave over his movies?
I have seen films that I did not like, but thought to myself “if they had only left out the violence, this might have been a good movie.” However, I have rarely had that thought in a Quintin Tarantino movie. Never have I been so sorely disappointed in one of his films, and, considering that I was not expecting much, that is an indictment.
One reason I decided to review “The Hateful Eight” was because the trailers did a good job of making it look like a western mystery thriller. Eight men trapped in a log cabin; one (or more) of them is secretly in alliance with the prisoner, and perhaps one or more of the others wants the reward money for themselves. It sounds like a great premise, but, in fact, there is no mystery. Sure, we can guess who is the “bad guy” (there are no good guys in Tarantino films), but there are no real clues. There is no evidence or reason to suspect one person over another. It is premise without execution. It is a setup for violence, gore, race baiting, hatred, and homosexual rape.
Now critics claim that Tarantino is good with suspense. They claim that he sets up scenes to make the audience anticipate something anxiously, but, in fact, his brand of suspense in this film has another name… boring. Consider that the first hour and fifteen minutes of the film takes place on a stagecoach. This entire sequence consists of crude dialog and narration. There is very little in this entire sequence that is really essential to the plot or entertaining. It reminds me more of gang bangers who like to constantly talk trash, but when did trash talk become entertaining? To me, it is another sign of the deterioration of Judea-Christian ethics.
Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer
Now, once the stagecoach finally arrives at the haberdashery, the plot finally begins to be put together, and yet, like most Tarantino films, plot is not the point; it is violence. After another long and tedious segment of over-the-top depictions of race relations in post civil war America (incendiary race baiting) we are then treated to a ten minute depiction of a graphic homosexual rape scene including male frontal nudity. Next arrives the first “intermission” since the 1960s. Personally, I like intermissions. In this case it gives you the chance to leave the theater without anyone noticing. Oh, if only I hadn’t had to review the rest of the film!
The second half of the film is full on Tarantino sadism, violence, and gore. The “mystery” element of the film never really existed in the first place, but I will spare the reader any “spoilers” nevertheless. It is certainly no spoiler to note that the body count is equal to the number of cast members in the movie. Gore includes exploding heads, arms being hacked off, vomiting massive amounts of blood, splattering blood on people’s faces, and other extreme scenes which leave us to wonder how an old six-shooter from the 1800s behaves like a modern day Colt 45 hand cannon.
Another staple of Tarantino films is the ridiculous amount of foul language which leaves the viewer desperately searching for the subject, verb, and direct object amid a dozen or more adjectives which appear to modify nothing in the sentence. Moreover, it is intriguing to think that cowboys in the wild West would be using words which were not invented until the 20th century and not popularized until the gang bangers of the latter half of that century. Of course, we are talking about a filmmaker who rewrote the history of World War II to end with Hitler being assassinated in a movie theater by Brad Pitt.
In a world where Christian films are all but universally panned by critics, Tarantino is praised as a “visionary.” Exactly what is “visionary” about a director who imitates 70s exploitation films, I cannot say, but, for those concerned about Tarantino’s over the top remarks about American police officers being racist and murders, I have good news. You can now boycott the film without actually missing anything worthy. You can safely skip this film and pretend that you are doing so in protest to his anti-cop remarks. You will thus be sparing yourself three hours of trash and supporting your local police department at the same time. More importantly, you will be sparing yourself a gut feeling that you betrayed Christ Jesus by even bothering to watch the film, for that is the sickly feeling I had in my stomach after the film was over. There is nothing redeeming in such a film (Ephesians 5:3-4).
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…a slow-burn, meditative chamber piece that only gradually reveals its grander, bloodier ambitions. …Tarantino’s well-documented indulgences are fully on display here—and anyone who had hoped he would finally calm down on the gratuitous violence and his characters’ flagrant use of a particular racial epithet will be sorely disappointed. …
—Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
…Quentin Tarantino is one of Hollywood's most aggravating directors, and this is perhaps his most aggravating movie. …“The Hateful Eight” is ruined by its unremitting incivility. …When Tarantino makes a movie—no matter the genre—it always tastes like gore. …
—Paul Asay, Plugged In
…Though Tarantino toys with many of the lawless frontier genre’s classic tropes, it’s arguable whether this deliciously long-winded mystery—“molasses-like,” to use his own term—qualifies as a Western at all. It might more aptly be considered an ongoing North-vs.-Southern… ultra-stylized faux-period parlance (in which the excessive use of the “N word” speaks more to Tarantino’s street cred than to any defensible sense of authenticity)… The gratuitous bloodletting and hefty running time… should appeal primarily to cinephiles…
—Peter Debruge, Variety
…Another bloody mess… abhorrent…
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…three-hour Western that’s windy both inside and out. …These bad guys love the sound of their own voices. …the truth is that“ The Hateful Eight” would never have been considered roadshow material back in the format's heyday: It's not, by any stretch, a spectacle. …
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Agatha Christie with gags, guns and Samuel L. Jackson… A blood-splattered murder mystery in 19th-century Wyoming is the notional plot for Tarantino’s swaggering off-message and old-fashioned three-hour masterpiece… [5/5]
—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…Quentin Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight” revels in snow, not so much in people… All the promise of the first hour of the film is squandered in the last two… All the promise of the first hour of the film is squandered in the last two…
—Stephanie Zacharek, Time magazine
…Eight of the ugliest varmints you've ever met face off in Quentin Tarantino's most beautiful, riveting and intimate movie so far… a rogue’s gallery without anyone to root for…
—Robbie Collin, The Telegraph