The Hateful Eight / 3 ½ palm trees
By Eduardo Victoria / [email protected]
Quentin Tarantino is a gift upon those who love cinema. His latest effort, a take on Stagecoach by way of John Carpenter’s The Thing, will prove to be a triumph for fans of his work and love those who aren’t unswayed.
Picking up a few years after the Civil War, the final stage to unspecified town of Red Rock travels a snowy landscape transporting John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) encounter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins).
Warren and Ruth are both headed in to collect bounties on their respective prisoners. Getting caught in a blizzard, the four are forced to hold up in Minnie’s Haberdashery, a halfway point to Red Rock. Arriving there, four strange characters (played by Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, and Demian Bichir) stir feelings of distrust and paranoia as to who is working with Domergue to free her.
The very start of the film sets a mood like no other. Composer Ennio Morricone’s slithering main title cue is a creepy mood setter that is as icy as the frozen setting. This, combined with Cinematographer Robert Richardson’s gorgeous Ultra-Panavision 70 photography, create a truly unique aesthetic experience.
Tarantino is a director making movies for movie fans. Interestingly enough, he chose to shoot what is essentially a chamber piece in the widest possible film format. It makes the small haberdashery seem larger than life and the characters iconic.
Adding to the iconography is the exceptional cast, certainly one of the best ever assembled for a western film. Turning an amazing performance is Walton Goggins. From the rhythm, droll, and tenor of his voice, he absolutely nails the role of Mannix. The chemistry amongst the cast is absolutely incredible.
The script is vulgar and the action is violent. If you are a fan of Tarantino, you will love this movie. If you aren’t a fan of the man’s work, it more than likely won’t sway you. The dialogue is harsh and communicates the fact that the “best” of these characters really just lesser of certain evils.
For some, the violence may prove too much. Ruth repeatedly bashes Domergue in the face. But the experience and overall message of the movie is pretty powerful. Left over anger from the Civil War is explored, as is the inherent racism that divided the country.
But best of all, this movie is a cinematic experience. If you can, see the film in its “Roadshow” format: overture, intermission, and a 70mm film print greet you to a film experience unlike any other. With The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino resurrected a genre that was long gone. A movie in every sense of the word, see this film on the largest screen you can.
Rated R. Roadshow version- 187 minutes. Wide Release Version – 167 minutes. Now Playing at Cinemark Downtown 10.