There are few filmmakers that rival that of Quentin Tarantino. Some may not care for all of his choices, but you cannot deny his love of all films and the inspirations that he tries to keep alive. His latest film, The Hateful Eight has had a long sorted road to get made, but to the joy of his hardcore fans it is finally here with a special roadshow before the films wide release across the county. Could this be yet another piece of cinematic brilliance from Tarantino or will it be an icy road of death to his western storytelling?
The Hateful Eight follows a bounty hunter and his prisoner who find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters in the dead of a Wyoming winter. As with all of Tarantino’s films he puts together a great cast filled with regulars from his films as well as newcomers this time including Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins, Damian Bichir, Tim Roth, Bruce Dearn, and Zoe Bell. As always there are some surprises in casting and this film is no different. Going into this film one of the coolest things to know about experience in 70mm is that only a select few films have ever been shot this way including Ben-Hur and Mutiny on the Bounty and Khartoum in 1966, the last time it was used. They refurbished the equipment including the actual lenses used for Ben-Hur making this a piece of cinematic history. The cinematography to this is amazing making the snow covered landscapes as much a part of the story as the actors themselves. There are numerous sweeping shots showcasing the beauty of the snowcapped area and coupled with the horses pulling the stage coaches and actors performances in these conditions makes for a visual treat.
The story itself plays up initially like a straight forward western full of interesting characters all of whom are unlikeable and show no real redeeming qualities. This often hurts a film, but with the story he is telling it works perfectly. Each of the actors brings their A game to their roles making for a memorable group of characters each bringing something important and engaging to their roles. Russell is as bad ass as ever in his second outing with Tarantino bringing his usual swagger and coolness to the character. He is a no nonsense character who takes charge of everything around him making him the seemingly alpha male of all in the cabin, but as with all Tarantino films all is not what it seems. Jackson steps in with an equally great part playing up his usual bad ass persona coupled with his sense of respect for those he partners with while still maintaining his own agenda. Tim Roth has always had a unique ability to bring something different to each of his characters and this time around might be the best one yet. His over acting mentality is perfect for the part and makes him one of the more memorable in voice and mannerisms alone. The rest of the cast all do a great job as well with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins standing out above all the rest. Goggins is always great, but he gets some really funny moments and his reactions to everything and everyone around him are perfection. Leigh is easily the scene stealer of the whole film. She doesn’t say much for the majority of the film, but her mannerisms, expressions and all around insanity is the perfect injection to the film. She brings something to just about every scene in the film even if she is just off to the side.
Anyone that knows a Tarantino film knows that he likes his action, but loves telling his stories even more and this one delivers both in spades. The majority of the film is heavy on the dialogue allowing for the films character to set up themselves as well as build the story effectively unlike most films around. Each of the actors showcase great delivery of this dialogue and keep it engaging and important to the film. Some may find this aspect a bit slow at times, but that is just a sad sign that people do not want to enjoy the ride of pure cinema storytelling instead of just mindless explosions. Some may find the consistent use of the dreaded ‘N’ word as offensive and unnecessary like in Django, but if you have any sense of history this was a regular mentality of the time and plays perfectly into the story and some major elements. While it is a sad time, it exists nonetheless and to tone it down out of fear of offending would do injustice to the accuracy of the story and time period of the film. While most of the film does feature the long winded brilliance of Tarantino’s dialogue it at also features plenty of his signature violence. When the blood and bullets start flying there is an expected abundance of bloodshed and chaos like only he can deliver that is sure to make every Tarantino fan smile.
One of the other major players to this film is the score itself. His music always plays a major part of the tone of the film and this one is no different. He brought in Award winning composer Ennio Morricone who worked on iconic films like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly marking his first music he has composed for a western in forty years and won yet another well-deserved Academy Award for it. In the end this is yet another cinematic masterpiece from Tarantino who continues to deliver. His love and passion for film continues to make him a standout in the industry like no other. In addition to yet another great film from Tarantino this release also includes a behind the scenes featurette and Sam Jackson’s Guide to Glorious 70mm.
Prepare to weather the storm when The Hateful Eight comes to Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand on March 29th and available now on Digital HD from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment.