The Hateful Eight marks Quentin Tarantino’s 8th feature film (if you bundle Kill Bill Vol.1 & Vol. 2 together). The writer-director’s hot streak continues with The Hateful Eight and while it may not be in the same league with some of his greatest accomplishments – like my favourite of Tarantino’s catalogue, Inglourious Basterds – it’s definitely a polished feat of bloody and suspenseful entertainment.
The Hateful Eight – Review
Early in The Hateful Eight, John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) encounters Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), warning him to move slowly – “molasses-like” – while keeping his firearm fixed on the stranger. You could say that the film itself is comparably molasses-like; dense and dark in its substance while deliberately unhurried in its stride.
We greet each despicable character that populates The Hateful Eight with an equal degree of caution, questioning their motives and carefully observing their demeanour. The film is structurally and situationally close-knit in a way most Tarantino films aren’t; the snow globe setting confines the narrative to only a handful of set-pieces, allowing carefully-paced moments to distil until they eventually ferment. This is the essence of The Hateful Eight, which is drip-fed a diet of deceit and malice until it can no longer contain its gluttonous appetite for debauchery.
The Hateful Eight is wickedly great ★★★★
Inglourious Basterds is Quentin Tarantino’s pièce de résistance (arguably alongside Pulp Fiction), and he knows it. The film’s final line is unmistakable and a bold conclusion to equally gutsy film. You need not look further than the film’s brilliant and suspenseful opening sequence to understand why Inglourious Basterds is a bona-fide masterpiece.
“Chapter One: Once upon a time… in Nazi-occupied France” begins with Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (aka “The Jew Hunter”) – played by Christoph Waltz – who interrogates the LaPadite family on their dairy farm. This tense extended opening chapter is a perfect representation of the film’s phenomenal writing, acting and cinematography, as well as Tarantino’s knack for suspense. It also features Christoph Waltz smoking a colossal pipe, which is both amusing and intimidating.
Speaking of Christoph Waltz, he is without doubt the film’s most compelling ingredient. In a once-in-a-lifetime performance, Waltz is hilarious and terrifying, at times demonstrating Landa’s cunning and mischievous side with mere mannerisms. He also provides one of the greatest line deliveries of all time…
Inglourious Basterds is composed of excruciatingly suspenseful moments, like this one between Landa and Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent), an interrogation involving “The Bear Jew”, a Cinderella shoe fitting between Landa and Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) and of course this simple giveaway during a prying conversation between Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) and an SS Soldier…
It’s also filled with its share of delightful moments, including Landa’s thrilling “That’s a bingo!”, Tarantino’s abrupt mashup of stylistic choices, and this hilarious exchange of Italian between Landa, Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and two of the Basterds…
And then there’s the finale, the ridiculous, profane, brilliant finale in which the war is won in a much different manner to how we know it. Tarantino’s characters determine this story and thus have the power to carve an alternate course of history. Who other than Quentin Tarantino could rewrite the history books to their own benefit and get away with it?
The feeling Inglourious Basterds leaves you with is akin to watching someone put out their cigarette in an classic apple strudel. It’s shocking to defile something so familiar and sumptuous, but you can respect the act’s confidence and envy the satisfaction it must induce.
If you ask me, Inglourious Basterds is a glorious masterpiece ★★★★★
What’s your favourite Tarantino film and why? Speak up below in the comments.