The Hateful Eight is a cinematic experience like no other. With many obstacles in its way: a leaked first draft, a leaked screener, and its director's fair share of "controversial" comments, it has still managed to make it to theaters.
The film ultimately unfolds very much like a stage play. Its acting is on a theatrical level of talent, and the confinement of sets makes it very plausible to be on Broadway. This is acting on another level, absolutely everyone brought their a-game.
Kurt Russell & Jennifer Jason Leigh as John & Daisy, manage to bring us one of the greatest on-screen rivalries of the modern cinema era. Daisy is a demon-on-earth playing with The Hangman, one of the toughest, most threatening sons of bitches in the west. The brutality and venom spat at each other worked to the ninth degree.
Samuel L Jackson, Goggins, and Roth are all at their finest hours. Bruce Dern also giving it when the ball is passed to him. The weakest link sadly belonged to Michael Madsen, reduced to a snarly growl as dialogue for most of the movie. Tarantino struggled a bit managing time for each of the Eight, but it is, after all eight protagonists.
The biggest complaints I had was probably the run time, and Tarantino's own self indulgence. He uses many Christian themes throughout, although its not exactly clear why; and following the intermission period of the film Tarantino begun narrating. The narrations ultimately felt unnecessary, and a bit disjointed from the rest of the film. As great as the pontificating of the characters were, it goes on a bit too long. For run time, this could have been cut down a solid 10-15 minutes.
Ultimately though Tarantino brings us something incredibly relevant to today's world. The eight characters we see carry many of the flaws of our culture: bigotry, mistrust, deception, and pure seething hatred for anyone in our way. Morricone delivers one of the best scores of the new decade, a Giallo-esque theme that chills you to the bone, unsure of the dangers to come.
As for the roadshow experience itself, I cannot recommend it enough. The absence of trailers to ease you in with its fantastic overture sets the tone early for the mood. Spoiler-y programs were given out, but still made for great keepsakes, and made me wish for my "The Master" program, or even "Inception."
Intermission proved to be a great breathing period after a stunning realization in the story. Adding for a more impactful climax. In the end, the movie really challenges you to accept its epic scope & weight of its heavy themes, and I was fully willing to grab on to that. "Hateful Eight" might not be as flawless as "Pulp Fiction" or "Inglorious Basterds", but boy, does it come close.