Review: The Hateful Eight

I’ve always held the belief that the mind of Quentin Tarantino is a fun place to visit but an extremely dangerous place to live, which is why I live to see his movies on the big-screen. His eight cinematic venture is by far his most boldest, goriest and most prestigious to date.

The Bounty Hunter, The Hangman, The Prisoner, The Mexican, The Confederate, The Sheriff, The Little Man and The Cow Puncher are The Hateful Eight, a group of individuals with itchy-trigger fingers, sketchy stories, money on the mind, hidden agendas and no compassion for anyone and they are stuck together in Minnie’s Habadashery, while a brutal blizzard blows through post-Civil War Wyoming.

Does that sound like Christmas to anyone? Eight killers trapped together in a blizzard each with their own personal reasons to kill each other? It probably does to Quentin Tarantino who with The Hateful Eight, elevates his already legendary game to prestigious and theatrical levels with this frigid and volatile period frontier piece featuring several of his old buddies including Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth and wrangling in Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Damien Bachir, Bruce Dern and Walton Goggins featuring James Parks, Dana Gourrier, and Channing Tatum.

The Hateful Eight registers on many levels for being a lot of things at the same time. For starters, it’s Bold with a capital B. The Hateful Eight hearkens back to the classical prestige pictures like Gone With the Wind, implementing an overture instead of rolling trailers and a fifteen minute intermission. In terms of narrative and graphic content, Tarantino pushes the envelop once again to deliver one of the most original, out there and relentlessly entertaining motion pictures of the year.

Image by Georges Biard, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hateful Eight, in a nutshell, is bold, graphic, theatrical and it all stems from the creative genius that is Quentin Tarantino and it is undoubtedly one of the most original films you’ll ever see in theaters this year. Seriously, before the intermission when Jackson’s character Major Marquis Warren is educating Dern’s character General Sandy Smithers about the fate of his missing son and how Warren was involved, jaws will drop. Tarantino isn’t afraid to be audacious but DAMN!

The ensemble is a tour-de-force of star power and outstanding performances particularly from Russell, Jackson, Goggins and the show-stealing Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue. Whether Ruth is beating her like a drum, telling her to shut up, screaming in agony at the sight of someone’s head being blown off and brain matter in her head, Jennifer Jason Leigh’s performance plays for keeps.

This movie is aces in terms of writing, directing, acting but visually this movie must been seen in theaters to truly appreciate the “glorious 70mm ultra Panavision 70” Tarantino boasts about in the trailer. Robert Richardson’s cinematography strikes like a king cobra and enhances the many significant moments The Hateful Eight has to offer.

Fred Raskins’ editing is superb. Perhaps since the film takes place in an interior every cut and jump connects with the following scene seamlessly.

Ennio Morricone’s score may be seldom heard, but it leaves an impression on the audience from the overture to the final bloody moments of the film.

Yohei Tanada’s production design, Richard L. Johnson’s art direction, Rosemary Brandonberg’s set decoration, Courtney Hoffman’s costume design, the makeup, sound and sound effects, I reiterate, aces. I was so enrapt by the grandeur and overwhelming spectacle that was this prestige picture I didn’t even bother to leave my seat during the intermission!

This is Tarantino bringing everything he has ever done in his career and showing audiences how far he has come and what he is capable of and it is downright magnificent to behold.

If I had to complain about an aspect of The Hateful Eight it is that in the final chapter, the last few minutes are something of a cross between dragging it out and wrapping it up quickly. Daisy Domergue does hang, I’m sorry to spoil it for you readers but I had to break it to you, but it takes so long to get to the final resolution and when it does arrive at the final resolution it jumps so fast you point out the “wait a minute!” “how did that get there?” “how did they hang her in their condition?” so that is something of a stretch.

I certainly believe that The Hateful Eight is worthy to be celebrated as one of 2015’s best and boldest films and another high mark in the extraordinary career of Quentin Tarantino.

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