[Viewed in 70mm]
The Hateful Eight is brimming with signature Tarantino fare but overly showcases that the writer/director has elevated his craftsmanship into something iconic.
We pick up the story some years after the American Civil War and find eight strangers sharing a lodge in the middle of brutal Wyoming blizzard. John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth (Kurt Russell) is transporting his prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the town of Red Hook to collect his bounty. Unfortunately for Ruth, he finds himself trapped in Minnie’s Haberdashery with some unsavoury characters, one or more of who may be in cahoots with Domergue.
The Hateful Eight is a bloody, provocative and slow explosion that fully satisfies the medium of cinema and then some.
Its first half appears as theatrical rather than cinematic and encapsulates how far Tarantino has come in his writing. The writing is slow and fast, witty and harsh, political and farcical and Tarantino knows it. He is inherently provocative and controversial in his thematic choices but in a world of industrial conveyor belts he becomes something special in need of reverence.
Samuel L. Jackson, a regular and triumphant Tarantino collaborator, is the great patron Tarantino could ask for. He saunters and swaggers his way through the film and the dialogue and hammers home the Agatha Christie nail.
Kurt Russell also tows that line extremely well but, in truth, he doesn’t do anything special with Tarantino’s contrastingly special narrative.
However, the real stars of The Hateful Eight are Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins. Jason Leigh is giddily nefarious and sly as the unhinged and hick Domergue. She bloodies herself with comedy and leverage and shines in a film dominated by masculinity.
Goggins, working with his Django Unchained director again, provides the comedic and relief and slowly underlies the film with sophistication and consistence.
The orchestra is fantastic but it is nothing without its composer. The Hateful Eight is one of Tarantino’s best films because it is his most well crafted film. It ebbs and flows with Ennio Morricone’s beautiful and haunting soundtrack and glides through Minnie’s Haberdashery never straying far from the narrative and mystery that confines within its’ walls.
At 2hrs and 47mins long, The Hateful Eight may seem like a daunting task likened to that of the blizzard confining its characters but it feels special. Admittedly Tarantino takes his time with the first half of the film but at its centre, it takes a turn and becomes hilarious, bloody, entertaining and thoroughly engrossing. As a result, The Hateful Eight trots by at a rollicking pace and is one of Tarantino’s foremost creations.
Score – A-