The Hateful Eight, review: ‘Tarantino by the numbers’

PUBLISHED: 09:54 15 January 2016

The Hateful Eight. Picture: The Weinstein Company

The Hateful Eight. Picture: The Weinstein Company

Archant

Quentin Tarantino’s latest is packed full of entertainment and tension – the only problem is that we’ve seen it all before, writes Michael Joyce.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins, Demien Bichir and Bruce Dern
Film Length: 168 mins. Roadshow version 187 mins

For his eighth film Tarantino has re-hashed the themes of his tight and concise debut Reservoir Dogs – a group of desperate villains and ne’erdowells trapped together in a situation where nobody or nothing is quite what it seems – and spread them across the sprawling epic running length of all his other films.

Then to hype it up that bit more, he is pushing audiences towards seeing it in an exclusive roadshow version that means the film is shown in 70mm, has an overture before it starts (giving the proper respect to a marvellous, mostly, original score by the maestro Ennio Morricone), a 12 minute intermission and costs a fortune.

The Hateful Eight has funny dialogue, tension, invention, great performances, twists and reversal. It is packed full of entertainment: it just isn’t packed full with three hours and seven minutes worth of entertainment.

This tale of eight hateful wild west types all holed up by a blizzard in post civil war Wyoming may look like new ground being covered but it all feels mighty familiar. The same old Tarantino regulars and a few new faces delivering that distinctive QT dialogue, enacting the same well worn narrative sleights of hand and rejiggings of chronology, indulging the usual fetish for having people say “kneegar.” I enjoyed watching Hateful Eight but as soon as it had finished began to feel that it hadn’t really been worth the time or expense. It’s all tricks that you’ve seen before in Tarantino films, and seen placed in closer and more potent proximity to each other.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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