★★★★★ – “Wondrous script with life and passion.”
The Hateful Eight is directed by Quentin Tarantino and stars Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern.
Some years after the Civil War, in the cold winter of Wyoming, a hangman and his prisoner stumble upon a bounty hunter looking for a ride in their stagecoach. With conversations had and deals made, they head up a way until they bump into a soon-to-be Sheriff. The only thing these folks seem to have in common is their destination: Red Rock. But on their journey they are forced to hold up at a stagecoach stopover cabin called Minnie’s Haberdashery until the blizzard calms. As time passes by, the eight folk start to get a little eager to figure out who each of the men really are…
Firstly, I was lucky enough to attend a special roadshow event for this movie, and I am glad I spent the (now incredibly reasonable) £20 ticket admission price. The movie was presented in Ultra Panavision 70 and projected on the classic Cinerama single-projector system. There was a musical overture to start, with an intermission after the first act of the movie. We were also given programs as memorabilia. This is a roadshow. And since the 50s-60s, hasn’t been done in this fashion. Tarantino was very specific and direct in how he wanted to shoot, and present this movie, and has done so, wonderfully. Special thanks to the staff at ODEON Leicester Square; working the projectors – a seamless run, with no problems.
The Hateful Eight is an experiment, of sorts. Tarantino wanted to see what would happen if he threw eight strange and compelling characters together in a small space and see what would happen. This is reminiscent of his first movie, Reservoir Dogs, yet has so much more strength in character background and screenplay that it completely blows it out of the park. He has a drive to get long, beautiful and interesting shots that can last 30 seconds to 1 minute, with no cuts. The opening shot lasts around a minute or two, with the full credits of cast and crew appearing on screen with haunting music by legendary Maestro, Ennio Morricone. When you’re watching a Tarantino movie, you’re getting an experience that no one else can deliver quite the same way.
The acting all around is just outstanding. The ‘hateful eight’ are incredibly strong characters that interact with each other with so much energy. From Russell and Jackson, to Jason Leigh and Roth; the charisma in both taking everything they’ve got to portray these characters as Tarantino imagined, and delivering lines, was spot-on. They are genuine, realistic performances.
The script is roaring with strength throughout, with quotable lines and humour. This is something that needs to be perfect, or near-perfect in a movie. But with The Hateful Eight, being a dialogue-driven event, it needed to be interesting. Tarantino has worked up a wondrous script with so much life and passion that it completely takes control of the movie and doesn’t let up one bit until the credits roll. This is how you make a good western. It has that classic “who done it” thriller genre nailed down tightly. There hasn’t been one like this for a long time, so it’s much needed.
Music by Ennio Morricone is hauntingly beautiful, making a big return to the western scoring front after 40 years, with original music bleeding through the landscapes and performances by all of the cast. I had listened to the score before seeing the movie and was curious to see how it fitted with the picture, but Morricone being the genius that he is completely changed the way I listen to the score. It fits perfectly with the story. This could be one of the last western scores that he releases, and I believe it’s a triumphant return.
Visual effects are few and far between but if you’re familiar with Tarantino’s work then you know there’s some violence and gore in there somewhere, which is correct, and it’s over the top and extremely bloody. Which I’m a huge fan of, so I was absolutely loving it. There’s more I could say but that would eventually mean spoiling and that’s something I really try to avoid.
My verdict; The Hateful Eight kicked off 2016 in style, with the largest 70mm release in over 20 years. Quentin Tarantino is still on his filmmaking high and I’m sure will continue this reign of storytelling for years to come.
The Hateful Eight – ★★★★★ (10/10)