Over indulgent and flimsy, 'The Hateful Eight' is a fateful wait for the end credits

Newstalk's resident film critic Philip Molloy takes a look at Quentin Tarantino's new epic

Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell and Samuel L Jackson star in 'The Hateful Eight' [The Weinstein Company]

The Hateful Eight (18)

Coming out of the press showing of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight at the IFI on Monday afternoon, one critic asked a colleague what he thought of it. “I liked the Roy Orbison song,” was the reply.  

I knew what he meant. A Roy Orbison song, There Won’t Be Many Coming Home, is played over the end credits and by that stage you feel that Tarantino and his movie have seriously overstayed their welcome. The Hateful Eight runs for almost three hours, it has an overture – a static title card accompanied by a moody Ennio Morricone score – and, even an intermission two-thirds of the way through. 

It is a tale of vengeance and double dealing in which a bounty hunter (Kurt Russell) and his shackled prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) take shelter in a snowbound Wyoming outpost sometime after the Civil War. The typical spaghetti western title comes from the motley assortment of ex-soldiers (Sam Jackson and Bruce Dern), a would-be lawman (Walt Goggins), a hangman (Tim Roth), a Mexican station hand (Damian Bichir), and a mysterious gunman (Michael Madsen) that have also taken shelter at Minnie’s Haberdashery as the relay station is called.

And as this group argues and fights and insults each other, Tarantino’s storyline develops into an Agatha Christie-type mystery in which they all have a colourful, sometimes interlocking, history.  

Personally, I liked the overall idea of this group of miscreants emerging out of a pure, white landscape and being forced together to pay for the sins of their incident filled past. But this is a Quentin Tarantino film, the eighth Quentin Tarantinto film as we are self-consciously told in the opening credits, and the rambling dialogue doesn’t always connect up to the outline structure with the kind of economy that you might hope for.    

We realise from a number of early roadside confrontations that scenes will be drawn out and way over indulgent as is pretty much the Tarantino way, and ultimately they begin to become tiresome – before it is all over you will feel that the plot has become both cumbersome and flimsy.

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