The Hateful Eight (70mm) review
Quentin Tarantino is one of the few filmmakers with a unique voice. Most of the time, you could find one of his movies like Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained and identify that it’s a Tarantino movie right away, even if one were to start watching it in the middle. A lot of it has to do that he clearly writes his characters before the story. It’s just that they are so well built as oddballs that are capable of anything given their circumstance that you’d probably want to watch them regardless of what they were doing. Even watching the characters of Reservoir Dogs play poker would be interesting.
By looking at his movies, you’d see that they are slow stories that rely on the characters dialogue then the actual action. That inspiration comes from spaghetti westerns like A Fist Full of Dollars and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, which contain the same slow pace. Impatient people may see that as a bad thing, but when I go to the movies, the best stories are the ones that are being told by the most fascinating people. Django Unchained had it and so does today’s movie, The Hateful Eight.
Some time after the Civil War, bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (played by Samuel L. Jackson) is trying to get his set of dead bodies to the next town of Red Rock, Wyoming so that he can collect his money. It’s cold and a blizzard is approaching, so when a stagecoach arrives, he asks for a ride. Inside the stagecoach is another bounty hunter, John “The Hangman” Ruth (played by Kurt Russell) who has captured fugitive Daisy Domergue (played by Jenifer Jason Leigh) and is taking her to town to hang. They take Warren, along with a man Chris Mannix (played by Walton Goggins) who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock, and make it to a cabin before the blizzard catches them.
The cabin is a lodge for stagecoaches called Minnie’s Haberdashery that’s being looked after by a Mexican Bob (played by Demián Bichir) while the owner is out visiting her mother. Also in the Haberdashery is British hangman Oswaldo Mobray (played by Tim Roth) quiet cowboy Joe Gage (played by Michael Madsen) and former Confederate General Sandy Smithers (played by Bruce Dern). The eight individuals are all in for a hard couple of days as the blizzard rages while they discuss the post Civil War and maybe fire off some guns.
Just like Tarantino’s previous movies, The Hateful Eight’s biggest strength are the characters. They had to be good characters, given that the movie is primarily set (for the most part) in it’s one cabin location. Every one of these people are so well constructed that they seem like they have come from other stories and that they have managed to find themselves in this one. I think my favorite had to be Kurt Russell’s Hangman bounty hunter as he seemed to be the one most confortable in being in a western.
With the characters comes a sort of a classic “who-done-it” mystery that’s so much of a nutty scenario that I’d rather not give it away. I can say that the movie feels like two halves; the first being the introduction and the backstories while the second half is bloodier and the reaction to the reveals. Parts of the first half felt a little too slow (perhaps a few minutes could have been cut from it’s three hour running time), but it all pays off later on when things are revealed and were in our seats trying to find out who’s going to make it in the end.
I’ll give this five stagecoaches out of five. The Hateful Eight is definitely not for those that are too squeamish by the violence and language level, but I promise that this is one of the best of 2015. I have yet to see a truly bad movie from Tarantino and this proves he’s nowhere close to slowing down.