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8 Reasons The Hateful Eight Is Quentin Tarantino At His Best

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The Hateful Eight is definitely not for everyone. It’s endlessly talky, brutally violent, and full of unsympathetic, even repellant characters, but if that doesn’t scare you off, this could emerge as your favourite film of the year. Part of the appeal lies in the way writer-director Quentin Tarantino layers in narrative surprise, constantly expanding his canvas while subjecting his characters to outrageous injuries. We have no intention of revealing the film’s surprises here, but this much can be said: The Hateful Eight is arguably Tarantino’s best film in over a decade. Here are eight reasons why.

1. It’s a blast from the past

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Tarantino has always been most at home tapping into the past—and The Hateful Eight is no exception. Fans of westerns should take particular excitement in his playful reworking of classic western TV shows and the (mostly) original score by spaghetti western giant Ennio Morricone.

2. Great actors in great roles

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Working with a mix of Tarantino regulars (Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth), second-timers (Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Kurt Russell), and newcomers (Demian Bichir, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Channing Tatum), the director ensures that every line achieves maximum impact. As expected, Jackson and Russell are the standouts, but Goggins delivers the film’s most surprising turn.

3. There’s absolutely no one to root for

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While this might not sound like a virtue, The Hateful Eight’s lack of obvious rooting interest helps Tarantino escape one of his least appealing tendencies: encouraging the audience to cheer for violence.

4. Everything isn’t what it seems

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While the characters in The Hateful Eight spend most of the film trapped in a single room, Tarantino has carefully hidden so many secrets that there’s never any reason for your curiosity to wane.

5. It’s no blockbuster

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Unlike most big holiday releases, The Hateful Eight is happy to bombard you with the kind of eccentric flourishes (Tarantino-delivered narration, anachronistic song choices, etc.) that are virtually unheard of in conventional crowd-pleasers.

6. It’s not afraid to cross the line

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Tarantino has always taken a horror auteur’s pleasure in extreme gore, but he goes further than ever before in the second half of The Hateful Eight, delivering his shocks in a refreshingly distinctive manner that is equal parts apocalyptic and nonchalant.

7. Crazy flashbacks

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Speaking of horror, The Hateful Eight’s claustrophobic setting brings to mind several iconic horror movies about confinement (particularly John Carpenter’s The Thing and George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead), but Tarantino opens things up with memorable trips back in time, both before and after the intermission.

8. Plenty of bang for your buck

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Clocking in at over three hours, the 70mm Roadshow version of The Hateful Eight will exhaust the film’s detractors, but leave everyone else with the distinct feeling of money well spent.

The 70mm Roadshow version of The Hateful Eight opens on December 25th. A shorter, intermission-free digital version arrives the following week. For a taste of what’s to come, watch the trailer below.

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