hateful

The Hateful Eight is a good return to classic Quentin Tarantino. It has all of the strong dialogue, unexpected twists, and dark humor that’s found in any of his movies.

Call me the minority, but I left both Inglorious Basterds, and Django Unchained a bit disappointed. While they have exceptional moments in them both went off the rails towards the last act. Tarantino has made a habit of introducing great characters only to make them disposable in the end. Maybe Hateful Eight is guilty of this as well, but here it may work a little better. Hateful Eight is able to recapture the joy of filmmaking this director has always revealed in, and it might even rekindle your love for the old fashion spectacle of a movie going experience.

In a post-Civil War west Wyoming a bounty hunter named John Ruther (a Grizzly Adams Kurt Russell) is taking an outlaw named Daisy Domergue (a scene stealing Jennifer Jason Leigh) to be hung in Red Rock. Along their stagecoach journey in the knee-deep snow they come across another bounty hunter named Marguis Warren (a phenomenal Samuel L. Jackson) along side of the road. With a blizzard quickly approaching John Ruther reluctantly picks up the rival bounty hunter. The two end up seeking refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover where they meet another group of misfit cast of characters who are also seeking shelter from the winter storm. As the storm overtakes the stopover the travelers learn that things aren’t quite what they seem, and that many of them won’t leave alive.

I’ll spare you any specifics of the story since it’s much more fun as a viewer to go into it blindly. But I’ll give you this — the story starts to unfold in its later half as a classic Agatha Christie type of “who done it”. Like with Pulp Fiction Tarantino returns to playing with structure, and having fun with storytelling. Nothing is quite what it seems, and it’s cast of characters makes the story utterly unpredictable.

As with all of this director’s films the cast is fantastic. Some highlights include Jennifer Jason Leigh’s foul-mouthed Daisy. Sporting a black eye, and handcuffed to Kurt Russell’s character, Leigh looks like she’s having the time of her life in the role. It’s one that will no doubt nominate, if not win her an Oscar. Samuel L. Jackson has some of the best lines of dialogue, and never wastes a moment of his screen time. Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Walter Goggins, Demian Bichir, James Parks, and a memorable appearance by Channing Tatum rounds out the Eight cast. All of the actor’s are matched with each other perfectly here. Intricate dialoged exchange has always been Tarantino specialty, and never have they been better executed than here.

The Hateful Eight is also one of eleven films in movie history to be filmed in Ultra Panavision 70 mm. Other films to have used the Panavision lenses with the ultra wide aspect ratio include Ben-Hur, Mutiny on the Bounty, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  The last was Khartoum over 50 years ago. If one of the Roadshow screenings of the 70mm projection is playing in a theater near you do yourself a favor, and see it in that format. It’s nearly three hour run time – complete with intermission – doesn’t at all feeling it due to the immersive storytelling going on. It’s also scored composer legend Ennio Morricone (The Good the Bad and the Ugly), who sets the tone beautifully from the opening scene.

The Hateful Eight one of the best films of the year, and is essential viewing for any film buff.