The Hateful Eight(2016)
- RatedR21 /GenreWestern
‘The Hateful Eight’ is a lot of things.
But boring is not one of them.
Is it violent? Yes. It’s a Quentin Tarantino movie and the violence is obviously amped to the nth degree.
Entertaining? But of course. From ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and ‘Kill Bill to ‘Inglourious Basterds’ and now ‘The Hateful Eight’, there’s loads of pitch-black humour to lighten the savagery on display. And like all Tarantino films, there’s a motley crew of despicable characters you can love to hate from afar.
Long? It’s almost three hours long, but it’s bloody engaging. It may have the trademarks of a typical Western but a Sergio Leone movie this is not.
Here, the filmmaker takes the stock characters and scenes from old Western movies and then turns the dial up to eleven. Throw in some salty language, racial epithets and you got yourself a Tarantino movie.
The whole production is beautifully shot with superb cinematography by Robert Richardson, now with his ninth Oscar nomination including previous wins for ‘JFK’ (1992), ‘The Aviator’ (2004) and ‘Hugo’ (2012).
The story is fairly straightforward: A bounty hunter, John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) is transporting criminal, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the town of Red Rock to be hanged. Along the way John picks up Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and soon-to-be Sheriff, Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins).
With a raging blizzard on their tails, the unlikely band are forced to take shelter in Minnie’s Haberdashery, an isolated roadhouse that serves as a way station. Inside they meet Bob (Demian Bichir), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern).
It is at this point that the movie flips and becomes a sort of Agatha Christie “whodunit” ala ‘Death On The Nile’. It appears to the ever suspicious John and Major Marquis that no one is quite what they seem.
As the weather outside worse, the atmosphere inside slowly turns into a powder keg. The long-running time lets Tarantino gradually build tension inside the roadhouse as subplots unfold.
Longtime fans will relish the movie’s shades of ‘Jackie Brown’ here with the talky and unpredictable dialogue between the characters. The button-pushing racial loathing of ‘Django Unchained’ is delivered in spades here as well.
Once again, Tarantino has assembled a quality cast of actors and given them characters to sink their teeth in.
Frequent collaborator Samuel L Jackson’s Major Marquis is played with zeal, but it is Leigh who stands out as the black-eyed venal criminal. Mostly drenched in blood throughout, she looks like Sissy Spacek at her worst in ‘Carrie’. Also over-the-top is Kurt Russell’s loud-mouthed bounty hunter.
All that simmering tension reaches its climax for the eventual bloodshed, and it is here where Tarantino dishes it out with aplomb.
Characters die puking blood, heads explode, limbs mutilated, all in a day’s work for the 52-year-old filmmaker.
Bold, bloody, and stylistically daring, ‘The Hateful Eight’ is another incendiary masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino.