The Hateful Eight (2015)
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks
Bounty hunter John Ruth (Russell) is headed to Red Rock, Wyoming with Daisy Domergue (Leigh) in tow. When a blizzard sets in, Ruth is forced to take shelter with his prisoner and a collection of dangerous strangers. Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) is back at it again with his eighth feature film. As both writer and director he was able to mold this film with his unique and unmistakable style. The cast features some familiar faces from his other movies, as well as a number of new stars. This one includes Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown), Kurt Russell (Bone Tomahawk), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Backdraft), Walton Goggins (Lincoln), Demián Bichir (A Better Life), Tim Roth (Selma), Michael Madsen (Thelma and Louise), Bruce Dern (Django Unchained), and James Parks (Kill Bill: Vol. 1).
Right away I want to acknowledge two people who made this movie one of my favorites of 2015. The first is the legendary composer Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). He lent his skill to this film, scoring his first Western in over 40 years. The score for this film fits the story wonderfully. It also seems to connect to the other Western scores he’s written without ever seeming repetitious. My second nod goes to cinematographer Robert Richardson (Hugo).
This frequent Tarantino collaborator seemed to harness the essence of the classic Westerns with his work. Throughout the film the camera always seems to be in the right place. These two are just a couple of the people who made this a really fun cinema experience.
The story Tarantino crafted for this film is his own unique take on a true Western. The setup for the film might feel a bit slower early on, but the payoffs make it all worth while. Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t a slow film. Once the momentum picks up it doesn’t really slow down. The action in this film is intensely graphic, wildly fun, and lightning quick all at once.
This one also features the witty dialogue that makes Tarantino’s films so much fun. This one also uses a more linear timeline than many Tarantino films. So the experience is a new one in many regards. I’m not sure where this ranks among Tarantino’s other films, but he has given audiences a new and awesome experience.
The acting in this one features a collection of great performances from everyone involved. It wouldn’t be possible to mention everyone in this film who does a great job. Like most of Tarantino’s films, the cast is a large collection of talent that all finds the right twist to give their characters. The unique spin given to each role by the actors gives this one depth that really helps to make it awesome. Another nice aspect of the film is the way the stars handled the action and violence their roles required. This one comes together wonderfully with their excellent performances.
This one looks and sounds great. I’ve already pointed out the wonderful score and cinematography of the film. It should also be noted that the costuming, special effects, set design, and locations all add something special to this one. Fans of Tarantino should make sure to check this one out. I was fortunate enough to see the film on the 70mm roadshow print, and I would encourage people to look for ways to see that version if it’s possible.
This is a fun and intensely violent film that won’t work for everyone. The story is a fun mystery built into a Western. I give this one 4.7 out of 5 stars.