Entertainment, Review

Oscar Season Review: The Hateful Eight

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By Kalman Dean-Richards

The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s eighth movie, came out on the eighth of January.

Why have we waited almost a month for your review of it, then, Kalman? How are we to know what to go and see, without you first drawing us a fairly interesting, but ultimately reductive image of it? Are you even committed to writing a whole ‘Oscars Season’, or are you just going to get bored and move onto something else before the awards ceremony – leave us like you always do? All good questions.

The movie’s pretty much like everything Tarantino ever does. It looks stylish, it’s obsessed with being cool, and the combination of violence, comedy, and social-politics is at least good fun, and at most intensely gripping.

Jennifer Jason Leigh is stunning, in the role around which the plot pivots. She’s insane, she’s vicious, she’s emotional, and if she doesn’t win the Oscar that I assume she’s nominated for, then I can’t have seen the performance that beats her (that’s quite possible – I haven’t been to the cinema very much in the last year).

The whole cast, in fact, is terrific, which is no surprise, since Quenty seems to have the pick of lists A through Z these days.

None of them, though, can possibly outshine the director himself, whose style has become as much about self-indulgence as it is ‘comic-book western’. His stamp is on every slick piece of dialogue (and it’s all slick), every bloody death, and every skilfully plotted puzzle piece. At one stage, Tarantino’s own voiceover tramples in and tells the whole thing to rewind fifteen minutes and look at things through a different camera. He’s everywhere.

He’s everywhere, and if you don’t like him, then you’ll probably feel the same way about the film.

As you can probably guess, self-indulgence isn’t something that troubles me, and to illustrate that point, I’m giving the film 8/10 Ks. It loses two points because, for me, the explanation doesn’t quite stand up to the brilliance of the murder-mystery, although I’ve little doubt that the stitching between the two will reveal itself to be more intricate than I now realise, when I buy it on DVD.

Here’s the cartoon.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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