Tarantino's Hateful Eight: Big, But Small

With Tarantino’s ninth film slated for release this summer, I figured it be good to revisit his last film! Enjoy!

Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, appropriately titled Hateful Eight, follows a group of strangers lodging together during a blizzard. Set in the strained years after the American Civil War, many of the travellers find they are connected in some way. As the film goes on that we see these connections are not all friendly or familiar to the characters at a first glance.

The characters all come from different walks of life and have their reasons for travelling. I’d be shocked if Tarantino didn’t read The Canterbury Tales and draw inspiration.

Like any Tarantino film though, it draws ideas and inspiration from many places, including real world events. This film features much talk about slavery, war and racism. It’s not afraid to let the characters talk as ex-Confederates, or die hard Yankees. People talk about death and killing as part of their lives, and even as their livelihoods.

This does become a flaw of the film as almost every character of focus is so rough around the edges, and none of them ever soften to us. Although I disagree that characters have to be likeable in media, I do think the audience has to care. It’s difficult to care when no one seems to change or evolve.

There are also so many characters that no one gets their own personal time. Tarantino’s intent could be to show the people and landscape of the old west as bloody, rough and difficult. I understand the choice to do this, but still feel an audience should be given some conclusion to characters they are presented, or given one character to follow through with.

And while I can’t fault any performances or dialogue, I couldn’t ignore how stretched the film feels. It’s well over two and a half hours and you can feel it. The conversations feel so elongated and so many times I thought certain conversations and entire scenes could be chopped in half.

Tarantino’s dialogue and the characters deliveries are good, but still the conversations feel too long and scenes sometimes feel unnecessary. There are a lot of characters explaining things to each other so the audience can understand what's going on and can feel unnatural at points.

Despite its flaws, I would still say this isn’t Tarantino’s weakest film, and I still enjoyed the tension and standoffs throughout its run. I do think the third act picks up its pace, and the tension is sky high towards the end. It does deliver a fun amount of Tarantino signature violence, the characters are fun, and I enjoy the simple concept and setting but this is far from his best work.

Written by Blake Preston

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