By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
From director, Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained) comes the 8th film in his filmography, The Hateful Eight. The second film in Tarantino’s filmography to be a Western (the first being Django) and his first film released in the 70mm Ultra Panavision 70 film format, which in my opinion, shows off Quentin Tarantino’s style of filmmaking in all its gloriously bloody fashion.
But 70mm aside, is it still a good movie? I mean come on, it’s Quentin Tarantino, he’s a critical and commercial darling when it comes to movies, all of his films have received very positive reviews and performed well at the box office, this is certainly no exception. The film is filled to the brim with Tarantino style and clichés, wide shots of the landscape, tense, dramatic, and slow moments of dialogue that build suspense, twists and surprises, exaggerated characters, and of course, the stylized bloody violence and dark humor.
The Hateful Eight doesn’t really offer much new things that haven’t been seen before in other Tarantino films (aside from a longer running time than his other movies), but there are different variations of old Tarantino clichés that feel very new and the plot as a whole keeps the audience guessing all the way through, and I love films that can do that and it does it very well. You can thank a nutcase of a cast and a nutcase of a director to make it all happen.
The film is set six to twelve years after the Civil War, where a stagecoach hurtles its way through the cold wintery landscapes of Wyoming. The passengers, bounty hunter, John Ruth AKA The Hangman (Kurt Russell-Tombstone, Death Proof, Furious 7) and his prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh-Miami Blues, Backdraft, Weeds) race towards the town of Red Rock where he will bring Domergue to justice.
Along the way, they come across two strangers, black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson-Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, The Avengers) and southern renegade who claims to be the new Sherriff, Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins-Cowboys & Aliens, Lincoln, Django Unchained). But introductions are cut short after a blizzard hits as they take refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass.
However, once they get to Minnie’s they are greeted by four very unfamiliar faces, Bob (Demián Bichir-Weeds, A Better Life, Savages) who is taking care of Minnie’s stopover while she’s away visiting her mother, Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth-Pulp Fiction, Rob Roy, The Incredible Hulk), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher, Joe Gage (Michael Madsen-Resevoir Dogs, Donnie Brasco, Kill Bill), and Confederate Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern-The Great Gatsby, 1969, Monster). As the storm overtakes the stopover, the eight strangers soon realize that they may not make it to the Red Rock after all as secrets and truths are revealed and that not everyone are what they seem.
Overall, The Hateful Eight is another great addition to Quentin Tarantino’s library, there’s plenty of over the top acting, stylized violence, dark humor, and surprises throughout the entire film. Though I wouldn’t consider it one of my top favorites of his movies, I still prefer Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Inglourious Basterds a little more, but then again, I like all of his films in their own unique ways.
Believe it or not, I think the most entertaining aspect of any Tarantino flick isn’t the violence but rather the dialogue and characters that result in said violence. Tarantino and his actors manage to make even a simple scene of just the characters talking to each other be very entertaining and they have strong chemistry, they’re funny, and you come to realize that they could all be hiding a secret in the end, even a recurring joke about a busted down door that needs to be nailed shut constantly is always funny and it never overstays its welcome, thank you Tarantino.
If you have access to a 70mm theater that’s playing the movie, see it there, Ultra Panavision 70 is the definitive way to see this film, the projection of the movie feels very massive and preserves the old-fashioned style of cinema, something Quentin Tarantino is very good at doing if you’ve seen any of his films before. But even if you don’t have a 70mm theater nearby, it’s a great movie on its own as well, classic Quentin Tarantino filmmaking, just as long as you know what you’re getting into, you’ll have a delightfully twisted time that will leave you feeling “Hateful” in a very positive way, if that makes sense at all.