The Hateful Eight / by Kenneth Buff

The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino’s 8th film. It’s a western, following a group of eight men (well, seven men and one woman) holed up in a haberdashery lodged between the mountains of Wyoming. It’s a slow burn, clocking in at just over three hours (Tarantino was kind enough to include a 15-minute intermission, but sadly the theater where I saw the film did not include it in the screening), but it’s also a bloody film, in its last hour, but knowing that this is a Tarantino movie there’s almost little need to mention that.

If you’ve seen a Tarantino movie then you know the sort of tropes to expect. Lots of dialogue, in-your-face characters, and of course, bloody violence. The Hateful Eight has all of that, but it blends with the mystery/western genre here better than it has in some of his past efforts, which sometimes felt disjointed, here in The Hateful Eight, it all mostly works.

The characters are what really make this movie. Each one is distinct and feels like a realistic representation of someone living in a post Civil War world. The haberdashery is inhabited by confederates, hangmen, bounty hunters, a cowboy, and an outlaw prisoner. It’s the interactions of these characters with one another that make up the first 2/3 of the movie, serving as both commentary on the world these men lived in, and sets the groundwork for the mystery as characters question each others stories and motives.

Over all, despite the somewhat needlessly long run time (Tarantino could have easily trimmed 30-minutes off the movie without losing anything), The Hateful Eight stands as a solid and entertaining entry into the Tarantino catalogue.