Quentin Tarantino’s eight film is a rootin-tootin western meets a whodunit mystery, laden with duplicity, violence and suspicious, shifty-eyed stares. While there are numerous elements to admire here, such as a great cast, including the legendary Samuel L. Jackson; a haunting score, for which Ennio Morricone won a Golden Globe, and some beautiful cinematography, it is not enough to combat the rambling, repetitive dialogue and disappointingly bland, vapid narrative. Difficult at times to watch, and not just because of the excessive violence, unfortunately there is much to hate about The Hateful Eight.
Set a few years after the American Civil War, the film opens onto a vast expanse of barren, snow-covered land, a desolate and deadly setting. Thus, the despondent tone that suffocates the rest of the film is immediately formed. Into this forsaken environment trundles a wagon, carrying John Ruth, a.k.a. The Hangman (Kurt Russell), and his bounty, the dastardly Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). The wagon gains two more questionable characters in the form of Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). The hodge podge gang must seek refuge from a blizzard and so end up in a cabin, Minnie’s Haberdashery, where four more dubious individuals await. It is here that the bulk of the film takes place, creating the feeling that one is watching a play rather than a film.
Although the racial and political tensions that continue to tear apart the U.S are vividly conveyed throughout the film, this is lost among a barrage of interminable wordiness and unnecessary violence, thinning the tale of real substance.The talented cast deliver magnificent performances, especially Walton Goggins and Jennifer Jason Leigh whose portrayals are truly electrifying, but even this does not save the film as there is no one to root for here, no likeable or redeemable characters within this band of racists, murderers and war criminals, shockingly enough. Depicted through Tarantino’s unique style, which though always exciting and engaging to watch, but fails to bring anything new this time round, The Hateful Eight is buried by its own bleak blizzard.