The first film review for 2016 will be the 8th film by Quentin Tarrantino. The Hateful Eight is a mystery/western film that involves eight strangers in a cabin during a blizzard. It invokes feelings of stories by Agatha Christie and if you pay close attention, John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Things begin when Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) who is hauling 3 bounties in the snow, comes upon John Ruth (Kurt Russell). Ruth also know as The Hangman is escorting murder suspect Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the the town of Red Rock for hanging. After picking up confederate Lost Causer Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) they head to Minnie’s Haberdashery for refuge from the storm. Upon arriving they also meet cowboy Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), Red Rock hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), Bob the Mexican (Demián Bichir) and Confederate general Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). Once all the pieces arrive what follows in one bloody affair that only Quentin Tarrantino can deliver.
Like movie goers of the past we were treated to an Overture while people took their seats and an intermission halfway through. The 70mm presentation was fantastic. This was the first I have ever seen such a presentation and I was amazed at the scope and clarity that I had previously had only seen with digital. This was true old school filmmaking and being a student of film, Tarrantino made the absolute most of it. Stunning shots of frozen mountaintops and landscapes really immerse you in the setting. It’s about as close to an IMAX film you can get that isn’t actually an IMAX film.
One of Tarrantino’s biggest strengths is his dialogue and this movie is no different. Any other film I’d be bored with what seems like pedantic banter, but in Tarrantino’s films I hang on every word. I think what enhances this is the cast which I personally feel is perfect. I have 3 standouts from the cast. Sam Jackson, a Tarrantino veteran is superb as always playing a grizzled bounty hunter who most certainly knows the world he operates in. Second is Jennifer Jason Leigh who as Domergue literally takes quite a beating, but is certainly on the level of these killers and bounty hunters. Keep in mind that none of the characters are likeable people at all. They are all pretty despicable but you tend to side with some over the others. And the last standout of the cast is Walton Goggins as Chris Mannix. Goggins is a scene stealer throughout as he plays a confederate man but damn it if he doesn’t have some charm. Any scene with him and Jackson is golden. I really would love to see a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for him.
There is nothing in The Hateful Eight that isn’t present in any other QT flick. You are gonna get your violence, language etc. The film runs at 3 hours 7 minutes for the roadshow version and 2 hours 47 minutes for the regular, theatrical version. However to me the long length felt like a breeze as the film has some great pacing and not a moment is wasted.
Quentin Tarrantino has a tough filmography to rank. I am not yet sure where The Hateful Eight ranks for me as far as my QT rankings. It’s not at the bottom. That goes to Death Proof, but I can tell you this for sure. The Hateful Eight is a lot of fun and Tarrantino blending genres like he does best.
Final Rating (5/5): Great casting, direction and pacing. Walton Goggins is the highlight of the cast.