I finally got to see Tarantino’s latest opus last night, after an abortive attempt last weekend. I bunked off work early (I’m the boss, remember!) and went to the local 4:15pm showing to avoid the crowds.
And what an excellent idea. There were only three other people in the screening. (The rest of Canary Wharf, I imagine, was busy staring into the abyss of the meaningless of their jobs and counting down the minutes until they could neck seven or eight pints of strong European lager and begin awkward public mating rituals. Or something like that.)
Oh, I really think I’m going to make a habit of this. It was just so civilised. I had a delicious cup of coffee in the foyer while perusing the details of upcoming films. Then – this being an Everyman cinema – I was able to take the coffee in and find my uber-comfortable seat in peace. A superb end to the working week, when very little gets done in any event.
Thirty minutes of ads and trailers later and I was taking my first steps back into the mind of Quentin Tarantino for quite some time. It didn’t take long to acclimatise though – Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack is a cracker, containing all the Tarantino musical cues we’ve come to love. Pulsing base notes, a ton of awkward dissonance and a real sense of foreboding. Something that would be well suited to a 1970’s cheap horror flick. Then some very ‘Pulp Fiction’ titles on screen and we’re off…
I don’t want to spoil anything about the plot, but to be fair the trailers give a lot away. Eight truly despicable people are stuck in a Wyoming mountain cabin together due to the sheer awfulness of the weather. This being America, some time after the Cibil War, there are a lot of grudges and everyone is armed to the teeth.
There’s not a lot to like about any of the characters, which means I ended up rooting for one, then another as I found out more about them. The dialogue is mostly excellent, with a few pretty clunky lines that destroy the scene. But I’ve not seen a Tarantino film without these.
Could I describe it as atmospheric? Well, I was sucked in completely for its entire playing time and had a quite visceral reaction to some of the plot developments. Which were normally signalled by gun shots. You know, Tarantino etc.
It’s far from uplifting and is pretty revolting in parts. For me, the dialogue made it. Samuel L. Jackson is a wonder and steals the majority of the best lines. However, Jennifer Jason Leigh comes a very close second – she gets a lot less dialogue but it’s all delivered with impressive timing.
Hateful Eight is basically a murder-mystery in a snow-bound cabin in Wymoning. I’d never go to see that, if I’m honest. But throw in this cast, this dialogue and the director’s penchant for bloody mayhem and it’s a completely different proposition.
If you like everything Mr. T has done before now, I think you’ll like this. If you shy away from violence or have a short attention span, then I’d give it a miss. Or wait until you can watch it at home and take regular breaks.