I had to time Hateful Eight carefully – at about three hours long, it is not a movie than really can be watched on the spur of the moment or on a normal school night, depending on the start time. So a mid afternoon session was arranged, and after several superhero movie trailers (with Superman v Batman looking the dreariest), and we got stuck into it.
Though I have to admit, the first couple of hours got me dropping off a bit. Not that the acting is low or boring, with Kurt Russell and Samuel L Jackson and Jennifer Jason Leigh and the rest of the cast giving their all and loving the n-word laden dialogue and the chance to just be their characters in one middling sized room, stuck together in the middle of an American blizzard.
No, it was more that there was just so much of it. So much talking. So many n-words. Tales and recollections and racism and lies and truths and all the usual things you get in Tarantino-written dialogue, and while entertaining and witty and funny and all those things… there is just so much of it. And not all of it is relevant to the plot.
Around the two hour mark, the narration (Tarantino himself) kicks in and I realised that I was not watching an “intermission” screening, as what we had seen was not 15 minutes earlier. This is about the time the verbal sparring is totally overtaken by the actual violence. Zoe Bell shows up for a brief but memorable cameo as a wildly enthusiastic cowgirl from New Zealand who seems completely out of time and place with the rest of the movie (though that may just be a little bit of cultural cringe coming in), and Channing Tatum also flashes his winning smile, though he doesn’t strip or bust a few magic moves.
The whole movie and the whole cast are brought together with loving care and everything looks so easy when in fact it must have been wildly difficult to manage. However, it seems like a school play compared to the masterclass in beautiful cinematography that is The Revenant, and that dialogue, while amazing, is just so very, very long.
Verdict: Tarantino brings his usual talents to bear in Hateful Eight and it is an amazing movie and well worth seeing. But it could have done with some serious editing, as did it really need to be that long? 7 jellybeans out of 10.