Screen-Jems Film Review: “The Hateful Eight” (2015)

In Defense Of The Best Tarantino Film

Screen-Jems Film Review:

Margaret Jemian, Staff Writer

This past summer, I challenged myself to a “Quarantino Binge” in which I viewed all of director Quentin Tarantino’s films for the first time in the span of one month. 

Within those thirty days, I became dazzled by the scrambled storylines within Pulp Fiction, the endless pop culture allusions hidden in both Kill Bill movies, and the incredibly underrated heist flick, Jackie Brown.

However, the most enlightening cinematic experience I had was arguably the longest (arguably because it took me three days to watch Death Proof; that’s how bad it was). 

The Hateful Eight, ironically the eighth film by Tarantino, is somewhat of a contemporary western. Amid a harrowing blizzard, a group of eight (never would’ve guessed) get stranded in Minnie’s Haberdashery, a quaint little spot a couple miles outside the fictional city of Red Rock, Wyoming. 

As the day turns to night, the group becomes more and more acquainted. But when someone poisons the coffee, it becomes clear that someone is not who they claim to be.

While many critics have endless grievances with this film, from complaining about its length to the lack of emotional depth, I would beg to differ on all fronts. I am a firm believer that the three-hour runtime is fully worth every minute, because by the end, I was thanking Tarantino for all of the exceptional exposition.

As the film opens with a breathtaking extreme long shot of a snow-covered landscape, the viewer is stalked by a daunting opening theme composed by Ennio Morricone, the mastermind behind countless ear-perking soundtracks (including The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), working with notable directors like Sergio Leone and Giuseppe Tornatore throughout his career. For this very film, he received his first ever Academy Award for Best Original Score, making the 86 year-old Morricone the oldest Oscar winner at the time. 

The music in the beginning perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the film; it prepares the viewer for all of the violence and bloodshed that is to come, as Morricone put it. 

The plotline itself truly is a winding story, reminiscent of Tarantino’s breakout film, Reservoir Dogs. When the viewer adopts a certain tidbit of information from the narrator (played by Tarantino himself), that is the moment when everything in the haberdashery turns upside down (metaphorically; this isn’t Chris Nolan we’re talking about). 

The story was easy to follow and become invested in, which is not only due to the enjoyable subject matter, but also because of the star studded cast, featuring Tarantino-staples like Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kurt Russell. What a group!

It will forever be my contention that while a hair lengthy, this is Tarantino’s best film to date! Within this enigmatically eloquent story lies a revolutionary soundtrack, numerous phenomenal performances, and an unexpected ending that is sure to make the journey to the edge of your seat all the more worthwhile.

I wish there was more that I could say without spoiling the plot, but I guess that just means you’ll have to see it and learn for yourself!