By Adam Ray Palmer
This fine Sunday’s review comes in the form of the mighty Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film The Hateful Eight.
This Wyoming western comes just over three years after his last western outing Django Unchained starring Jamie Foxx and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz.
Quentin turns to his old crew Tim Roth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen and veteran Kurt Russell for support this time around.
Tarantino knows this talented cast, he knows the western genre, and he knows how to deliver an award-winning film. Is The Hateful Eight another blinder to add to his collection?
The Hateful Eight begins in the dead of a Wyoming winter. A bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters sheltering from the cold and wilderness.
Almost 25 years ago, Quentin’s audacious yet brilliant debut Reservoir Dogs was released on a shoe-string budget that made him a household name. Now, a quarter of a century on, Tarantino is back with perhaps his most mature and polished film yet.
The setting of this intimate feature is a surprisingly large shop (mainly large-looking because of the 70mm lens) named Minnie’s Haberdashery – yet Minnie is nowhere to be seen. Immediately, this is an odd beginning. However, half an hour before we see this marooned cabin, we meet half of the central protagonists.
Bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is handcuffed to his prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) as they come across another bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson). After some verbal jostling, the three continue their travels together as the storm worsens. They then come across Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who says he is the new sheriff of Red Rock – the fours eventual end location.
As they travel in their horse and carriage, the foursome quip at each other with Jennifer having the briefest but best moments. The sequence where she spits and speaks out of turn at Major Warren receiving a hit from Ruth is a simple but pivotal scene. She looks down gathering herself as a tear of blood leaks down her face, yet she eerily smiles back at Warren.
Once they arrive at the haberdashery, the movie really comes into its own. From this moment on, it turns into a Poirot ‘whodunit’ episode. We also meet the final four characters who consists of the local hangman (Tim Roth) who is the Christoph Waltz type of personality from Django, a lone ranger (Michael Madsen), and confederate general (Bruce Dern) and Bob the Mexican (Demian Bichir).
It is very difficult to review this film without spoilers but everyone can guess how this pans out. Quentin reveals subtle clues over the three hour run time so the audience can work out who is who and also to revel in the cinematic genius of the director. The film is very dialogue-heavy and most of the film set in one room – only Quentin could pull this off. He relies heavily on the cast to put on a show which they do, with only Madsen going missing. Jackson has an incredible scene with Bruce Dern with Samuel referencing his ‘Johnson’ a few times. This sequence will receive many laughs.
Furthermore, the violence isn’t overused in this film as many would assume. It’s distributed at pivotal times when extended passages of dialogue reaches sustained tension. The final half an hour is when the film really cranks up. Each character changes in one way or another adding the extra dimension the film was building up to. It is such a clever movie and a wonderful cinematic experience – it’s one of Quentin’s best scripts. When I walked away from this film, the one thing that haunted me was the fact that Tarantino is just as great at directing as he is a writer. He’s nearly sub-human.
Cineroom’s Rating: 4 Stars
The Hateful Eight is currently showing worldwide in selected cinemas – Certificate 18