“The Hateful Eight” stars a lot of Tarantino alum including Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, and a slew of others and is directed by the always interesting Quentin Tarantino. It centers around a group of people being stuck in a haberdashery in the middle of a blizzard in Wyoming, and when things go awry, suspicion grows and the whole thing turns into a version of “Clue” that few would expect to see coming. Much like Tarantino’s other films, “The Hateful Eight” cherry picks items from movies past and uses them in its own unique ways, to everyone’s benefit.
To get the full effect of the movie I would recommend that you see the 70mm version before it’s too late. The overture and intermission (with somewhat of an entr’acte leading into act 2) along with the fact that the movie was filmed with the same lenses used to film Ben-Hur bring back a method of exhibition I was never able to experience before in my lifetime. It was a dream come true for a true film lover like me. I wanted to change the site’s name to Shoton70, because Tarantino’s choice to film in 70mm was great, since the use of 70mm gives you a literal wider look at the setting. It really brings out everything in detail and makes each frame a work of art. You feel as if you are inside Minnie’s Haberdashery with all these people. The 70mm also captures the snowy landscapes in its natural grand beauty. The cinematography by DP Robert Richardson is spectacular to say the least and the use of almost antiquated Ultra Panavision lenses and widescreen format are both a tribute to old Spaghetti Westerns as well as a unique approach and use of said technology.
This was definitely not some cheap screenplay that a movie studio purchased from a back-door writer. This is a high-quality well- written masterpiece. The plot of the film is ingeniously planned out and subtly foreshadowed at the beginning of the film. There are lots of subtle things that we as the audience see thinking nothing of, but actually have bigger meaning than one might think. There are lots of subtle details that we may not notice, but will be brought to our attention by a character. I thought that Tarantino really showed that he had everything in mind already played out, and wasn’t just writing as he went along. I love the fact that the writer really adds an “everything happens for a reason” kind of tone to the movie.
Tarantino is able to get amazing performances from his actors, and this movie shows that. This movie focuses heavily on character development and interaction, and due to the phenomenal performances and dialogue, I did not get bored for even a second, since the dialogue hooked me in. Tarantino has created unique characters, and the casting is on-point, all the actors which were chosen for their respective roles gave an exceptional performance. The chemistry of the cast works really well. All the characters are really complex and they live up to the title, each character is just as “hateful” as the next one.
Samuel L. Jackson gives perhaps his best performance since Pulp Fiction, he plays “Major Marquis Warren” a well respected bounty hunter with an intriguing background, who acquires skepticism as he progresses in the plot. Samuel L. Jackson is absolutely gifted at delivering Tarantino’s Dialog and certain scenes where he delivers longer monologues are enthralling. Kurt Russell plays “John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth” a bounty hunter traveling with felon “Daisy Domergue” portrayed remarkably by Jennifer Jason Leigh, there abusive, stone cold relationship is intense and there is a real sense of the treacherous nature of “Daisy” which “John Ruth” must keep at bay. Walton Goggins turns in a hilarious performance as “Sheriff Chris Mannix” a man with his own sense of what’s right and wrong, his scenes are some of the most deliriously comedic of the film. Upon there arrival at ‘Minnie’s Haberdashery’ they meet the strange combination of supposed hangman “Oswaldo Mobray” played by the talented Tim Roth, “General Sandy Smithers” played by Bruce Dern, the mysterious “Joe Gage” depicted by Michael Madsen, and supposed substitute owner of the cabin “Bob” played by Demian Bichir.
The soundtrack of the film sounded very ominous and fit the overall tone of the movie perfectly. Tarantino used this score to his advantage tons of times in the film. He did this especially well in a sequence of the raging blizzard outside; the ominous organ is blaring in our ears and only gets louder when the wind blows harder. Then all of sudden, the shot quickly changes to indoors where it’s calmer and warmer. The change from the soundtrack felt like a snap of a finger, and Tarantino used this masterfully. Just like Jaws, this film has it’s own special sinister score that shows when danger is near, and I personally believe that this score should be just as iconic. Morricone’s score was his first western score in forty years, and it is a truly memorable one. One that surely matches the shifty-eyed characters and fits the suspicion element all too well.
This in my opinion is one of Tarantino best looking films, from a beautifully shot opening, set on the snow cover hill top of Wyoming, to the captivating design of the cabin known as ‘Minnie’s Haberdashery’. The way in which Tarantino allows his camera to flow between characters is magnetic and allows each individual to shine, even when they may not be delivering his icy cool dialog. The direction by Quentin Tarantino is fantastic and stylish with Tarantino bringing his usual flair, look and atmosphere to the film. Tarantino really deserves an oscar nod for directing.
The Hateful Eight gets a 9.2/10.