The Hateful Eight in 70mm
Tarantino's eighth film, a western set in post-Civil War Wyoming. With winter raging, a ragtag bunch of armed strangers find themselves holed up in the same stagecoach stop. Predictably for this scenario (and director), tensions will rise and violence will ensue... Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Samuel L. Jackson are 3/8 of the stars.
Sometime after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as 'The Hangman,' will bring Domergue to justice.
Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town's new Sheriff.
Losing their lead on the blizzard, they all seek refuge at Minnie's Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. There they are greeted by four unfamiliar faces: Bob (Demian Bichir), who's taking care of Minnie's while she's visiting her mother; Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the hangman of Red Rock; cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen); and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the storm descends on the mountainside stopover, our eight travellers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock.
Best Original Score (Ennio Morricone) at the 2016 Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTAs
Rating: R18 Graphic violence, sexual violence & offensive language
As great as Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained were, the manner in which Quentin Tarantino's pointed proclivity for ponderous proclamations went unchecked in those films prevented me from wholly embracing them. In The Hateful Eight, the third entry in QT's unofficial 'Revisionist Myth' trilogy, those tendencies go even further, gloriously so.
The writer/director's trademark verbose speechifying works in a way it never has before. It aids and abets the building of characters and the generation of tension, and often serves as misdirection for the plentiful jolts thoughout the film. And yet it's what goes unspoken that provides most of the film's thematic heft.
The influences felt here (old TV westerns, Agatha Christie) are fertile new ground for the filmmaker, and he mixes them together with a nasty, darkly funny alchemy all his own. Tarantino's love for cinema is always felt in his movies, sometimes distractingly so, but The Hateful Eight manages to artfully transcend the filmmaker's otherwise always-evident personality.
All the actors are amazing and in total command of their performances, but if anyone deserves singling out, it's Walton Goggins, who with his utterly hilarious turn in this film officially takes over from Bill Paxton as cinema's greatest good ol' boy. Zoë Bell's appearance is a welcome sprinkling of Kiwi pepper that can't help but generate a smile.
The Hateful Eight is a leisurely, articulate and strangely funny descent into hell. It's pure cinematic gravy, and I loved every second of it.
Total Film (UK)
New York Times
Time Out New York