THE HATEFUL EIGHT directed by Quentin Tarantino (USA, 2015)

 hatefuleightPretty well every Tarantino movie has been accused of being gratuitously violent. By now viewers should know that at some point there’ll be some splatter.

Get used to it or stay away, I say.

But his 8th movie is hateful for other reasons. I found certain scenes distasteful because the sadistic elements were so plainly included for shock value alone.

I’m thinking in particularly of the flashback scene [spoiler alert] near the end.

In this, all the homely and unthreatening staff of a stagecoach lodge (Minnie’s Haberdashery) are murdered.

There is no obvious reason why they should be killed let alone in such a brutal manner, These acts of barbarism are rendered all the more absurd when the gang’s leader explains that their plan to despatch the bounty hunter holding his sister depends on patience. Given the ruthlessness we have witnessed, it beggars belief that they do anything other than simply shooting him on sight.

Obviously, the plot is contrived to allow for what Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw calls the “swaggering dialogue”. The first half of the movie does indeed contain plenty of the sparkling banter but I quickly tired of the succession of ‘nigger’ jokes and it seems evident to me that Tarantino simply had no idea of how to end this movie. He all but conceded as much when he joked that what started out as a western version of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ somehow turned into a horror movie.

For all of Tarantino’s cross referencing of TV and cinema, I can’t help thinking that this piece would work far better on stage. As a theatrical production we might at least be able to enjoy the snappy wordplay without having to endure the self-indulgently gruesome bloodbath that comes in lieu of a logical finale.

Forget the hype, this is Tarantino’s worst movie by a long chalk.