Tarantino does it again… sort of

Alex Lasher

Throughout his career, filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has never been afraid to push the envelope with his films. From racism to slavery, with massive amounts of violence for violence’s sake, Tarantino always takes the very worst parts of humanity and uses them to entertain us.

“The Hateful Eight” is no different from his previous installments in most ways, yet gives us some of the most unique work that we have seen in a Tarantino feature.

“The Hateful Eight” revolves around eight main characters, none of whom are very likable. That is where I feel “The Hateful Eight” differs from previous Tarantino films; there is no true protagonist, no character we feel has a straight moral compass whom we can root for. Even in “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction”—movies filled with gangsters and thugs—we have at least one character trying to do the right thing. While our characters in “The Hateful Eight” may be awful people, they are far from being awful characters.

The film takes place in post-Civil War Wyoming, when the country is still at odds with itself; Tarantino’s characters address this. Much of the conflict and tension of the film is concerning leftover issues from the war and the slave trade. Tarantino has not been one to shy away from issues of slavery and racism, as seen in “Django Unchained.” By using these themes as elements of interaction between characters, each scene is left feeling uneasy with tension.

The film took place almost entirely in one room, creating potential for the film to drag on and blur together. While the film does drag on from time to time, there are enough memorable scenes that stick out when reflecting on the film.

With limited set pieces, Tarantino has to give us something to engage us. With dialogue always being one of his greatest strengths, Tarantino delivers some of the most intriguing of his career. Each character has their moment to shine with great performances. Samuel L. Jackson might have finally topped his iconic “Pulp Fiction” performance, and we see a revitalized Kurt Russell on the screen as John “The Hangman” Ruth. Even Channing Tatum entertains in his somewhat surprise appearance.

The glaring flaw with “The Hateful Eight,” however, is we feel like we have seen this movie from Tarantino before. While all of Tarantino’s films have similar tropes throughout each—biting dialogue, memorable characters and a whole lot of violence—each one felt like a unique story. “The Hateful Eight,” however borrows so many different elements from his previous films like “Reservoir Dogs” and “Django Unchained” that it feels, at times, like Tarantino is paying homage to himself. The parallels between “Django Unchained” and “The Hateful Eight” are so strong Tarantino had to come out and say “The Hateful Eight” is not a sequel. With such a strong creative mind, Tarantino should be able to come up with enough new material to give us a new feel with this film.

“The Hateful Eight” is exactly what we have come to expect from Tarantino. While not his most original film, it’s still one that Tarantino fans will certainly enjoy.