Review: The Hateful Eight (Extended Version)

Quentin Tarantino seems to have scored another hit with his upcoming directorial effort Once Upon A Time in Hollywood receiving largely positive reviews at the Cannes Film Festival. A new trailer for the film has led to buzz surrounding Tarantino and his movies, so I thought I’d revisit his last film, The Hateful Eight, which recently re-released on Netflix as a four-part miniseries containing extra, never-before-seen footage.

The Hateful Eight follows former Civil War Major turned bounty hunter Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) as he hitches a stagecoach ride transporting fellow bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner, who he is taking to the town of Red Rock on the other side of the Colorado mountains, just where Warren needs to be. However, a ferocious blizzard forces them to divert their course to an outpost halfway to town, Minnie’s Haberdashery, a haven for mountain travelers. On the way to Minnie’s, they pick up another stranded traveler, Chris Mannix, who claims to be Red Rock’s new sheriff. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are met by four other sidetracked journeyers sticking out the storm. They seem innocent at first, but new developments reveal a plot that gets increasingly violent while Ruth, Warren, and Mannix try to piece together the situation they’ve gotten themselves into.

I’ve always felt The Hateful Eight was an underrated film in Tarantino’s filmography, and hoped that this re-edit into a more digestible miniseries format would garner new appreciation. While the new release seemed to fly under the radar, the lack of popularity and reviews just raised my curiosity. Tarantino himself claims there are 25 minutes of added footage, according to an interview with SlashFilm, but I find that hard to believe. This film is so extended and bloated as it is that it’s hard to notice where a few extra lines of dialogue or an extra shot are added. The Hateful Eight is also such a thrilling experience that, as the film gets tenser, I no longer care about these few added minutes and am simply enthralled by its sheer glory. Tarantino doubles down on everything he’s great at, which is not necessarily creating action pieces but instead creating intriguing and unique characters, and placing those characters in precarious and oddball scenarios, obviously infused with grotesque violence and vulgarity. The Hateful Eight is quintessential Tarantino, with even more added beauty from the “glorious” 70mm cinematography, as well as an amazing, Oscar-winning score from Ennio Morricone.