Law men to the left of me, killers to the right: The Hateful Eight is another great western from Tarantino

Mubsar Dhuka

Quentin Tarantino’s most recent masterpiece, The Hateful Eight, somehow achieves the feat of being violent and satirical while essentially having the same plot as the movie Clue. All of the main characters are stuck in a cabin during the post Civil-War era, but one of them is lying about his/her identity. It stars Samuel L. Jackson as “The Bounty Hunter,” Kurt Russell as “The Hangman,” Jennifer Jason Leigh as “The Prisoner” and many more.

The movie balances tension and a shifting tone. A great example is when there is a Mexican standoff and Samuel L. Jackson’s character yells out a hilarious line. From the very beginning, you feel as if each of the characters has a dark, complex past, full of broken promises. The sense of tension is ramped up by the fact that none of the eight characters are the protagonist. The audience feels as if anyone can die because there is no “hero” to protect.

The other great part is the dialogue; the part where Tarantino shines. He can take the most mundane dialogue and make it interesting. Most other movies feel like they slow down when the dialogue-heavy scenes start, but in Tarantino movies, the dialogue is far from slow. Most dialogue in the movie does not progress the plot like it would in others. An example of this is when the group is eating, which is important later on, and they start talking about The Bounty Hunters pen pal, Lincoln, that has nothing to do with the plot or the actions they are doing. The characters don’t explain the plot or recap it, which is what slows down most movies.

Even though I called the film a masterpiece, it still has some faults — it’s overly long for being a mystery contained to one setting. While Reservoir Dogs, a similar Tarantino whodunit, is 1hr 39m long, The Hateful Eight is 3hr 7m long. This length really hurts the movie. Some scenes start to drag on: the movie even has an intermission, which unnecessarily adds minutes. Two-thirds of the way through, we find out who the traitor is, and there is still about an hour of movie left. The mystery is gone for the last act, and because of that, the last act feels not as strong as the others.

My favorite Tarantino movie is still Django Unchained, and my least favorite is Kill Bill: Volume 2. The Hateful Eight is neither my favorite nor least favorite, but it is still a masterpiece. It may not be as good as Django Unchained, but it still lives up to Tarantino’s legacy. It hits all of his trademark beats — originality, a great soundtrack and a bloody conclusion. At a time where Westerns are dead, this feels new because it revives Westerns by combining it with a mystery.