rating

The Hateful Eight

To be sure, there are more than eight characters worthy of hatred in this Quentin Tarantino western and perhaps his eighth film is equally deserving. It’s a claustrophobic version of snarling, drooling killers, bounty hunters and mere wackos thrown together in a cabin while they wait out a snowstorm. We’ve got a bitter former Confederate army officer (Bruce Dern), a gruff bounty hunter (Kurt Russell), a loony fugitive (Jennifer Jason Leigh) being transported for hanging, a dandy with a mean streak (Tim Roth) and a gregarious former Union army major (Samuel L. Jackson). If you’ve seen Tarantino movies then you know this will be gratuitously violent. And if you’ve seen stories filmed in essentially a single location, you know how potentially tedious they can be. The superior cinematography and acting, in particular Leigh and Jackson, however, can’t dig this one out of the snowpack and rescue what it, unfortunately, always promised to be: a boring, bloody, bam-bam-bam. At one point, the director cancelled the making of the picture because the script had leaked out. What a shame he changed his mind.

– Mal Karman

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