Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews
The Hateful Eight | Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Channing Tatum, Michael Madsen | Review
- Category: Judy Thorburn
- Published on 25 December 2015
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The Hateful Eight
Writer/director Quentin Tarantino pays home to the western genre with his eighth film, The Hateful Eight, a story about eight unsavory characters stranded in a one room haberdashery during a Wyoming blizzard. A big fan of Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns of the 1960's, Tarantino brought aboard Leone's legendary composer Ennio Morricone to do the score.
The time period is a few years after the Civil War. Bounty hunter John Ruth, aka The Hangman (a scruffy, walrus mustached Kurt Russell) and his prisoner, the murderous Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are on a stagecoach heading to the town of Red Rock where she will be hanged and he will get the $10,000 bounty that was placed on her head. On their way, they pick up the snowbound Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter who carries a personal letter from Abraham Lincoln in his coat pocket, and Chris Mannix (Walter Goggins) a southern renegade who claims to be the town's new Sheriff.
When the snowstorm becomes too much to bare, the four seek refuge at Minnie's Haberdashery, a remote outpost , where they encounter four souls of questionable intentions, each with their own story, to complete the hateful eight of the title. There is Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern) a cantankerous old timer and bigot, British hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth, doing his best Christoph Waltz impersonation); Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) a cowboy that doesn't talk much but says he is on his way to spend Christmas with his mother; and a Mexican, referred to as Senor Bob (Demian Bechir) who is running the place while the proprietors, Minnie (Dana Gourrier) and Sweet Dave are away.
With a running time of three hours, complete with overture at the beginning and an intermission, Tarantino insisted that the film be shot in Ultra Panavision 70mm. That really didn't seem necessary since the majority of the story is staged like a play, in one room. Nevertheless, Tarantino has the power to make a movie any way he wants and if this is what he demanded, than so be it.
The first half features lots of talk, talk, talk, and more talk before it is gradually revealed that some of these characters have a nasty secret and are not what they appear to be. Who is lying and for what reason? Guess you will have to be patient and wait to find out.
Confrontations, heated arguments and verbal attacks ensue involving ugly issues of racial bigotry, repetitive use of the N and F word and other foul language. With his signature witty and powerful dialogue that brings things to boiling point, culminating with an explosion of over the top, brutal, graphic and bloody violence, it is just what you expect from a Tarantino film.
By incorporating flashbacks that add pieces to the puzzle, the mystery slowly but surely unravels with people getting obliterated by one means or another including poison. It's a virtual who done it, whereby the process of elimination, like a game of Ten Little Indians, comes into play.
A bit too long and drawn out before the sh-t hits the fan, The Hateful Eight doesn't stand as Tarantino's best film to date, although the fantastic ensemble cast deserves accolades. Each of the players are terrific with Jackson and Russell leading the pack and Jennifer Jason Leigh, more than holds her own and is a force to reckon with as the treacherous female, the only woman among this despicable bunch, although I question why Tarantino felt the need to have her character get punched in the face repeatedly.
I can't say I love this film, nor did I hate it. Just don't be hate'n on me, if I choose to leave it at that.