Quentin Tarantino, simply put, is a showman. His films are often viewed as–not movies–but events.
Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds, hell–even Reservoir Dogs and its short length come across feeling novel-esque. They’re respectively dense with story and content. The Hateful Eight, however, does not feel novel-esque. And that is, perhaps why, it feels like such a let-down.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Tarantino’s latest outing is a masterwork of filmmaking… but not ‘Tarantino filmmaking.’ As a matter of fact, I would venture to say that this is his weakest entry to date. Its 187 minute runtime doesn’t change the fact that Eight feels more like a side-quest in Tarantino’s universe than an epic.
The performances and cinematography are all on point, predictably near perfect. Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, and Tim Roth in particular shine in their roles. The story is fine for a whodunnit, but the structure and arc are bumpy and difficult to swallow. Once we pass the second act, when a certain twist is introduced, the movie flounders and caves in on itself.
Overall The Hateful Eight is worth a watch, but keep your expectations low. Tarantino has done better and will likely do better in the future.