Quintessential Quentin Tarantino fun
Profound anticipation always accompanies the release of a new Quentin Tarantino film. "The Hateful Eight" is the signature dialogue-driven, bloody-good fun one has come to expect from America's most notorious director.
In this post Civil War whodunit, a bounty hunter (Kurt Russell) and his nefarious charge (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are on their way to her hanging. En route, they take on two stranded passengers, a Union Major (Samuel L. Jackson) and a soon-to-be sheriff (Walton Goggins). As a blizzard approaches, they're forced to seek shelter at a desolate haberdashery. Also trapped there is a Confederate General (Bruce Dern), a new caretaker (Demian Bichir), a hangman (Tim Roth) and a seriously suspicious dude (Michael Madsen).
And thus, the tagline: "No one comes up here without a damn good reason." Who are these guys? Each has a story to tell, most of which are flimsy, at best. One thing is for sure: there's enough animosity to fill the room with gobs of racial slurs and intense mistrust. And no one rules the roost.
It's familiar Tarantino territory: "A bunch of guys in a room who can't trust each other" (in the director's own words). Think "Reservoir Dogs," complete with Mr. Blonde (Madsen) and Mr. Orange (Roth). But "The Hateful Eight" is more theatrical than his seven previous films. The action, or lack thereof, basically plays out in one room — all three hours and seven minutes of it. If not for Tarantino's beyond brilliant gift for writing, casting and camerawork, this killer film could have been a snoozer.
Beware in the second half (after the "Intermission") that extreme gore ensues with adrenaline-pumping intensity. There's a frontier justice vs. justice thing going on, and it's just the fix required for QT junkies. No one is spared their fair share of assault.
Shot in the long-gone 70mm format (last utilized in "Ben Hur" and "Mutiny on the Bounty") provides "The Hateful Eight" with spectacular mountainous Colorado cinematography. And a score by Ennio Morricone (who frequently composed for Sergio Leone) sweetens the pot immensely.
The goods are deliciously dished up in "The Hateful Eight." So those of you with the stomach for it, bring your warped sense of humor, settle back and prepare for quintessential Quentin.