THE HATEFUL EIGHT
DIRECTOR: QUENTIN TARANTINO
RELEASE DATE: 12/25/2015
STARRING: Samuel L Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Channing Tatum,
Michael Madsen, Demian Bichir, and Kurt Russell.
Tarantino delivers yet another memorable film that can stand up to any of the already impeccable titles within his arsenal.
Director Quentin Tarantino recently addressed his plans to only make 2 more films after his newest release The Hateful Eight, which we’re going to talk about today incase you hadn’t figured that out yet. Tarantino says, “If I only think that I only have two movies, well, that keeps it at the tip of the spear, if you know what I mean… That means those ones better be good and I better mean everything about them.” Whether or not he means business, or this is just some ruse to get more people backing his films is unclear, but if The Hateful Eight is any indication of what the filmmaker has left in the tank, he shouldn’t be planning his exodus anytime soon.
Like most Tarantino films, The Hateful Eight has a cast of memorable characters and as the name of the movie would indicate, there are 8 of them the film tends to focus on. John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is a grizzled bounty hunter who’s known as The Hangman and he’s escorting the criminal Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock to collect his 10k and see that she meets the end of her life by a noose. On the way, they run into two stranded travelers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) and Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins). The Major fought for the North during the Civil War and the Sheriff is a confederate sympathizer, so as you can guess, things get heated and like most Tarantino films the “N-word” gets tossed around considerably.
The group then finds themselves having to duck into Minnie’s Haberdashery for a few days in order to dodge an incoming blizzard and that’s where we meet the rest of the eight. They are first greeted by Bob (Demian Bichir), who claims to be watching the store while Minnie is off visiting family. For those of you familiar with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (one of Tarantino’s all time favorite films) Bob will instantly remind you of Tuco. Then there’s Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) a slick tongued Englishman who actually is the hangman of Red Rock. Quietly in the corner is a mysterious cowboy named Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) who’s writing his auto-biography. Finally at the center of it all is General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern), an aging Confederate officer who, like Sheriff Mannix, immediately takes a disliking to Major Marquis.
The Hateful Eight are now stuck with one another and this is where the story really starts to unfold. There’s a hint of John Carpenter’s The Thing that resonates as you slowly start to see everyone unravel in the confines of this isolated shack surrounded by snow. Of course there’s no alien going around killing everyone, but instead a whodunit mystery surrounding all the players and their intentions.
The biggest weight anchoring this film down and keeping it from being a masterpiece is the first act (or first two chapters). It’s apparent that Tarantino is in control of the film and he’s in no rush to get anywhere anytime soon. It’s slow moving at first and the dialogue feels a little disjointed and forced, but once Minnie’s Haberdashery is thrown into the mix, The Hateful Eight becomes everything I wanted and more.
Take a dash of Reservoir Dogs and mix it up with any Sergio Leone film and that unequivocally is the result here. Ennio Morricone’s veracious score only helps make the argument that Tarantino was dipping into Leone’s turf. Like Reservoir Dogs, this film employs many people and all of them get bloody. Very bloody. If violence unsettles you, steer clear. Then again, it’s a Tarantino joint, that shouldn’t come as a surprise, but consider this your trigger warning.
3 of the 8 were true stand outs in this movie: Samuel L Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Walton Goggins. Not that the rest of the cast weren’t awesome, their performances were considerable as well, they just kinda took a back seat. Jackson’s retelling of the first time Marquis met General Sandy’s son is on par with any delivery given in Pulp Fiction or Jackie Brown. Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Daisy Domergue plays polar opposite to The Bride in Kill BIll and is basically a punching bag for Ruth, but she owns that downtrodden mentality as a badge of bested honor. Tarantino utilized one technique for most of the character’s where he shifted their dynamic from being deplorable to affable, this is evident with the relationship between Daisy and Ruth, which dances around face punches to face cleanings. But one character who owned those deviations was Goggins’ Sheriff Mannix, who starts the film leaving a bad taste in your mouth and exits the film leaving a taste of something sweet in your mouth. *insert bad joke here*
Tarantino didn’t set the bar with The Hateful Eight, but he did manage to thoroughly entertain me. While I wouldn’t be upset if he had decided to trim some of the fat off this, I’m certainly grateful for what he presented. Let’s hope that whole “2 more movies” thing is complete horse shit.