The Hateful Eight - film review

The first thing you’ll notice about the Hateful Eight is how long it takes to start. I was on the phone mindlessly scrolling when some part of me that had been promised a film suddenly tugged the rest of me to check if something had broken. No, nothing was broken, I was not in a loop of any sort. The music was indeed playing and my Netflix was working fine. The first thing I caught when I looked at the screen was the cross in the snow. Crosses in my mind represent death, but in the snow, it looked less menacing.

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The opening scene of the Hateful Eight made me feel giddy. I like carriages and characters with a lot of ‘spice’. Spicy on screen in the sense that they are full of life, trouble and wit. My enthusiasm from the opening scene where ‘John ‘the hangman’ Ruth(acted by Kurt Russel ), who chained himself to Daisy Domergue (acted by Jennifer Jason Leigh) met a stranded-in-the-blizzard Major Marquis Warren, (acted by Samuel Jackson) was sustained throughout this film.

The plot is a solid one; hangman John finds himself on his way to Red Rock, where he hopes to receive $10,000 for delivering Domergue, a notorious member of a gang run by her brother. He meets Jackson, also a bounty hunter and war veteran who’d been transporting bodies in his wagon before he got stuck in the blizzard. John gives Jackson a ride after much convincing that the latter was not conveniently there to steal his bounty. They ride further and meet Chris Mannix(Walton Goggins), also stuck in the blizzard and in need of a ride. He claims to be a sheriff of Red Rock and maybe he is.

The atmosphere in this ride to the place they hoped to seek refuge from the blizzard(Minnie’s Haberdashery) is charged from the racial and war jabs and the criminality of men who are suspicious of each other’s motives and of course, with maniac Domergue who receives blows from her spiteful and unwelcome comments.

In Minnie’s Haberdashery, we get acquainted with new and suspicious faces. Minnie for some reason is missing from her establishment and this rings suspicious bells for the Marquis. They’re welcomed by a Mexican, and other lodgers; Oswald Mobray, a striking English man who claims to be the hangman of Redbrook, a lone writing fellow, John Gage, and a racist former general who rarely speaks. Alright, suspicions raised. Not at all to be helped by John’s paranoia that someone is trying to steal his bounty from him.

As you can expect, things are not as they are portrayed and the following scenes do their best to surprise us with the unfolding and unexpected twists. As my friend, J.M Eks who recommended this film to me puts it, ‘The movie was just a powder keg of hateful behavior’.

Tarantino does not flinch from the use of racially censored words from the lips of his characters. It’s all very authentic. My favorite character has to be Oswald Mobray. He sounded like the arbitrator and portrayed himself as the civilized one in a room of near savages. Must be the British accent. Also Daisy was glorious in her acting. Very unfazed about the grossness that came her way. The scene with John vomiting in her face was the peak for me. The Marquis Warren felt like the balance, which is a shared similarity between him and Oswald. Even when he said crazy things, it always felt sensible. I found myself making excuses for him because of his observant eye in the room and the realist in him.

One thing you can be sure of in the ‘hateful eight’ is that there is violence but that Tarantino makes it arty, by giving us a clear reason and background for the violence. It doesn’t feel incidental and that’s what makes it a good watch.

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