Quentin Tarantino, the mastermind behind iconic films such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill,” has never been one to shy away from controversy or pushing boundaries.
Yet, among his illustrious filmography, “The Hateful Eight” stands out as one of his most underrated masterpieces.
Now available on Netflix, this film offers a unique blend of suspense, drama, and Tarantino’s signature style. Here’s a deep dive into what makes “The Hateful Eight” a must-watch.
A Plot Filled with Twists and Turns
Set shortly after the Civil War, the film revolves around eight strangers who seek refuge from a blizzard in a stagecoach stopover. As the storm rages outside, tensions rise inside the cabin, and it becomes clear that not everyone is who they claim to be. Secrets are unveiled, alliances are formed, and betrayals are inevitable.
Tarantino wrings incredible tension out of the confined setting and simple premise. Much of the film’s fun is seeing how the unstable relationships between the hate-filled characters will unravel. With its single setting, The Hateful Eight has been compared to classic theater and Agatha Christie mysteries.
Interestingly, “The Hateful Eight” was initially conceived as a sequel to “Django Unchained.” However, after a script leak that almost saw Tarantino abandon the film project, it was reimagined as a standalone piece.
Tarantino’s strategic move to read the leaked script at an event and announce two new drafts with a different ending ensured that the film’s climax remained unpredictable.
The Star-Studded Cast
“The Hateful Eight” boasts an ensemble cast that brings together some of the finest actors in Hollywood. Leading the pack is Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren, a former Union soldier turned bounty hunter. Jackson’s portrayal is both intense and captivating, holding the audience’s attention from start to finish.
Kurt Russell shines as John “The Hangman” Ruth, a bounty hunter known for bringing his bounties in alive. Jennifer Jason Leigh delivers a standout performance as Daisy Domergue, a fugitive with a bounty on her head, and her dynamic with Russell is both tense and intriguing.
The film also features notable performances from Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, and Demián Bichir. Each actor brings their own flair to their respective roles, making “The Hateful Eight” a true ensemble piece.
Seeing these stars bounce off each other in Tarantino’s trademark stylized dialogue is a joy.
Samuel L. Jackson’s Unforgettable Monologue
No Tarantino film is complete without a memorable monologue, and “The Hateful Eight” is no exception. Samuel L. Jackson’s monologue, delivered with his characteristic intensity, is both shocking and riveting.
Without giving away any spoilers, this monologue delves into the racial tensions of post-Civil War America and serves as a turning point in the film. It’s a testament to both Jackson’s acting prowess and Tarantino’s writing skills.
Samuel L. Jackson speech that might be his best monologue since Pulp Fiction’s Ezekiel 25:17.
Reception: Critics vs. Viewers
Upon its release, the film garnered mostly positive reviews, with many lauding Tarantino’s ability to craft a compelling narrative within the confines of a single setting.
However, it also faced its share of controversies. The portrayal of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character, Daisy, drew criticism for its graphic depiction of physical and verbal abuse. Some viewers found it unsettling, while others argued that she was treated no differently than her male counterparts.
The film’s commercial performance was also affected by external factors. Tarantino’s comments at a Black Lives Matter rally led to perceptions of him being against the police, prompting boycotts by police groups. Despite these challenges, “The Hateful Eight” grossed $156 million worldwide, a commendable figure for an R-rated character drama.