Full of unforgettable performances and a script that no other film can match, The Hateful Eight is the must see Christmas film of 2015.
Anytime a Quentin Tarantino film comes out, anyone who’s a fan of cinema is witnessing a film event. This remains true even in a year where we’ve revisited beloved franchises such as Jurassic World, Creed (the Rocky franchise), and Star Wars. Tarantino has such a large fanbase and so many people are willing to wait and see his style of movies. The thing about Tarantino is his blend of dialogue mixed in with some of the most well done and thought out action pieces are truly incredible and one of a kind. Tarantino also has an eye for talent unlike any other director working and can get performances out of actors the general public has never heard of. Inglourious Basterds was such a great movie and brought the acting community Christoph Waltz, while Django Unchained gave audiences a chance to watch Leonardo DiCaprio chew up the scenery as a villain. With his eighth film, Tarantino has truly struck gold with The Hateful Eight, creating what may well be his best film to date.
Opening up with a stunning overture giving a glimpse of the unforgettable Ennio Morricone score, a six horse carriage is roaming the road of post-Civil War Wyoming, carrying John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his bounty Daisy Domergue. As snow begins to fall and a blizzard is clearly incoming, the carriage comes to a stop to a man sitting on several dead bodies. The man, Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), asks for a ride to Red Rock to redeem his bounties, which is where John Ruth is bringing his prisoner to hang. Ruth brings the Major along for the ride, based on the fact that the two have met previously and the Major has a handwritten letter from President Abraham Lincoln himself.
While on the road to Red Rock, they encounter Chris “The Sheriff” Mannix (Walton Goggins), who’s looking to get to Red Rock as he’s been appointed the new sheriff of the town. Due to the blizzard right on their tail, the four have to take shelter at a stagecoach passover known as Minnie’s Haberdashery. They’re greeted by Bob “The Mexican” (Demian Bichir), who informs John and the Major that Minnie and Sweet Dave went to Minnie’s mother’s place on the other side of the mountain. Bob, O.B. “The Driver” (James Parks), Mannix and the Major help put the horses away as John and Daisy get warm in Minnie’s. Inside they meet three more strangers: Oswaldo “The Little Man” Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe “The Cow-Puncher” Gage (Michael Madsen), and ex-General Sanford “The Confederate” Smithers (Bruce Dern).
With the blizzard coming full on, these eight strangers will be forced to spend the next couple of nights together at Minnie’s. Through the lies, deceptions, and betrayal, there’s nothing guaranteeing the survival of all eight individuals. Getting to Red Rock may not be so easy after all.
On paper, The Hateful Eight has one of the most Tarantino-esque casts you can hope to find: Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, James Parks…all of whom are frequent collaborators of Tarentino. But it’s some of the new comers to the world of Tarantino that absolutely steal the show, in particular Jennifer Jason Leigh. in a film full of irredeemable characters, Daisy Domergue may be the worst of the group. And she plays the role to perfection. Another stand out character is Walton Goggins, who starts off as an unlikeable buffon but midway through the film becomes possibly the most enjoyable character on screen. It wouldn’t shock me to see nominations for Leigh and Jackson, but Goggins could really be the surprise here.
At 187 minutes, The Hateful Eight would seem to just be a tiring experience for most audiences. But have no fear: there is an intermission halfway through the film. But, honestly, The Hateful Eight may not even need that intermission. Tarantino has always been a master of scripts, as his words just roll so smoothly out of any actor’s mouth. And with The Hateful Eight, he may have written his masterpiece. No moment feels dull or boring which is a testament to how good Tarantino is as a writer. He allows his cast to really perform, as this may be his most wordy film to date. Of course, there’s an extravagant amount of gore and blood, but the film is at its best when the actors just perform. At the end of Inglourious Basterds, Lt. Aldo Raine goes on and says, “I think this just might be my masterpiece.” Take a bow Tarentino, since this just might be your masterpiece.
It is important to note that the edition of The Hateful Eight shown during the screening was Tarantino’s “roadshow version”. The roadshow version will be different than the cut released to the general public, the differences being that it’s the 70mm cut, is six minutes longer, and features an overture and an intermission.
The Hateful Eight is written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, and James Parks. The Hateful Eight: Roadshow Version will be in theaters December 25, 2015, and the digital version will be in theaters on January 1, 2016.