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'The Hateful Eight': A Dramatically Atmospheric Deja vu!

'The Hateful Eight': A Dramatically Atmospheric Deja vu!

The Hateful Eight reminds us, Tarantino is his most masterful when he manipulates audiences to feel conflicted about his creations! Did he succeed in reaching his goals this time or not?! Read the information attentively line by line and you will find it out!

Quentin Tarantino has made enough films to reflect on his style. His latest film, "The Hateful Eight", is a skillfully crafted and well-executed film. It is certainly not his feeblest effort, but it is certainly far from his best.

Essentially, a chamber drama, designed in his typical chapter format and narrated in a non-linear manner, it is closer in structure to his debut film than any other film he has done.

Even in this twilight phase of Tarantino's career (because he claims it's a wrap after 10 films and this is his eighth), he remains a steadfast outlaw. He won't forsake shooting on film for digital. Neither does he show any indication of softening his amoral stance on onscreen brutality or the provocative use of racial slurs.

The film kicks off as an intriguing chamber piece about eight reprobates set in Wyoming sometime after the end of the American Civil War. Jackson is Major Marquis Warren, a former military man turned bounty hunter, caught in a blizzard en route to a town called Red Rock. He hitches a ride with thuggish hangman John Ruth (Russell), who is accompanied by his own prize catch felon Daisy Domergue (Jason-Leigh, enjoying herself in a feisty turn). Along the way, they pick up a sheriff Chris Mannix Goggins), a charmer and an unapologetic racist. When the gang pulls up at a haberdashery to rest, rogue party No 2 (Roth and the rest of the cast) comes into play.

With their lives inter-linked, these eight men realize that "One of the fellows is not the person, he says, he is". Trust issues give rise to a bout of instigation and what follows is mayhem.

With a run time of two hours and 47 minutes, the journey is leisurely, as well as tedious. The first half sets the mood, which is generic and calm in nature, but it is in the second half, in which Tarantino's expected trademarks and stylistic flourishes appear with a bang, amidst a literal haze of blood, bullets and brains.

For three - quarters of the film, Eight unfolds like a Hitchcockian suspense. The director peels off the layers of every character, one by one, as Ennio Morricone's ominous score spools in and out of scenes. Tense standoffs are heightened by Tarantino's verbal flourishes. The actors revel in the speechifying, who seems born to play this part. The violence is bloody and is as compelling as the mystery that surrounds the neo-noir characters, albeit under-developed. The performances, for the most part, are fantastic - Jackson, as always, was born to deliver Tarantino's crisp and colourful profane dialogues and detailed monologues.

But it is Russell's one-liners that hit the mark. As John Ruth, he fits the bill perfectly but delivers in the same deadpan, grizzly fashion.

Jennifer Jason Leigh, as the female accused of murder, gets more to do in the second half, but for the first she's merely fodder for her male counterparts' consistently ruthless bashing. The rest of the cast are an extension of themselves, twisted as well as wasted.

Shot by his regular cinematographer Robert Richardson on a 70 mm format, the visuals are magnificent, but far from being realistic. The frames are dramatically atmospheric and, accompanied by Ennio Morricone's effectively pounding score, the viewing feels staged.

Also, the visuals of the snowclad terrain, the blizzard, with a stagecoach and bounty hunters give you a feeling of "seen it before" elements which fail to entice the viewers. As a whole, the film is very well put together with every Tarantino trick, but unfortunately it lacks the magnetism to draw.

The final act, when the violence is uncorked, is the film's weakest spot, a recurring problem with Tarantino. If Eight is indeed the beginning of the end for the director, he might want to give more thought to that all-important finish line.