In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?
Most of us were raised to believed that cowboys were men of few words, but Quentin Tarantino is out to prove otherwise with this film. He delivers once again, a film with icy cold dialogue, amazing sequences of people talking back and forth; the movie is roughly three hours long and so old fashioned. It's difficult to lock this film down a genre, much like many Tarantino's movies and here it is what makes this film brilliant.
Snowed in together like Agatha Christie characters in a country house, here characters must face a plot unlike any Christie's story - but very much like, say, Reservoir Dogs - in which there is no notional authority figure to exert control over everyone. The only authority is violence and superior firepower. In this film as well as in Reservoir Dogs: the idea of being in unbearable pain from a gunshot wound, but still talking and still being a threat is present. Samuel L. Jackson is definitely Oscar worthy in this film, every scene in which he has a monologue is perfect. It might be his best work since Pulp Fiction and I genuinely mean that. He never get a monologue of such awesome calibre here, Quentin Tarantino did give him some of the best lines. Plus, it's great to see Tim Roth back on a Tarantino movie. Kurt Russell is fabulous: funny, likable, a total badass and Walton Goggins gives a hilarious experience.
There's no denying Tarantino's been down this road before, when he reheated the Spaghetti Western to such spectacular effect in Django Unchained. The use of location is perfect. It is such a claustrophobic movie, all actions are centred in one place. You are isolated and you feel like you are in this cabin, everything is cold (except the coffee), you feel the location. Tarantino's treatment makes this film epic. To be sure this film looks grand. The mountainous landscapes and snowfall of the opening reels have a dense splendour. Quentin Tarantino dusted off the Ultra Panavision 70 format used on epics cinema legends such as The Greatest Story Ever Told or How the West Was Won and he put those vintage lenses to curious use. The real test of Tarantino's decision to shoot in 70 mm comes inside, as it raises the question of what advantage a super-wide screen format serves when the drama is mostly limited to one room? Plus, to eyes young enough not to remember luxuriating movies like Ben-Hur, shot in the brilliance of Ultra Panavision 70. The Hateful Eight offers a genuinely different sort of experience? Anyone who loves great images on the big screen will appreciate the movie. Its hefty running time (the 70 mm version clocks a thrilling 187 minutes, including overture and intermission) should appeal mainly to cinephiles. Tarantino manages to stretch the suspense as far as it can possibly go, he withholds the first bullet until roughly the 100 minute mark. He even insinuates himself just after the intermission narrating what transpired during the break and introducing a twist, whereby someone poisoned the coffee while the audiences were restocking on popcorn. Finally, Tarantino's use of music, like his choice of shooting formats, marks a dramatic break from the rest of his oeuvre. This film does include an original score by Ennio Morricone, who you may know from everything basically. He's one of the most famous composer who ever lived - equal to my personal favourite John Williams. Tarantino has creatively recycled existing songs and score, while giving them such accuracy that they may as well have been written for him.
Overall, Quentin Tarantino has created another breathtakingly stylish and clever film. Everything about this movie screams 1960's style: the score, the wide screen and the look. Tarantino still got it. I utterly enjoyed seeing some of the actors on the screen delivering amazing performances with great dialogues.