Quentin Tarantino has aged like a fine wine throughout his filmmaking career, but his latest film is like watching all of his previous work together in one.
The Hateful Eight sees Tarantino remain in similar territory to Django Unchained, though switching the Southern genre for the more familiar Western. The Hateful Eight reveals a maturity that has developed in Tarantino’s 24 year long career. Once he was a man solely focused on emulating his heroes, bringing exploitation violence to cinematic normality, and using his skill for screenwriting to flesh out characters and narrative arcs; now we see a newer, older, flashier side to Tarantino that makes him the emulated hero. However, he still uses exploitation violence to full effect, and has an incredible flair for screenwriting that is evident throughout The Hateful Eight.
A few years after the American Civil War, John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) is travelling to Red Rock to collect the $10,000 bounty for capturing Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), thus creating two of the Hateful Eight. The third and fourth members soon join Ruth and Domergue on their journey: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) — a former Union soldier, now turned bounty hunter — and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) — the son of a Confederate soldier, and a racist who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock. Due to terrible weather conditions, the four members stop by at a haberdashery nearby to wait it out. Inside they meet the remaining four members that create the motley crew of lovable rogues. Like a whodunnit in a quasi-western setting, John Ruth suspects that one of the remaining members is not who they claim to be and intend on rescuing Miss Domergue.
Photographed in 70mm Panavision, the harsh blizzards of the landscape are perfectly captured by Robert Richardson, and both exterior and interior scenes — mostly interior — are on an epic scale that brings this mystery thriller to life.
At 167 minutes, this western epic takes its toll. However, though it can feel like a monumental task, the final result is a breath of fresh air. All the nuances are at play for Tarantino here: a script performed by a stellar cast, all topped off with a fantastic underlying score by Ennio Morricone that is worthy of his Golden Globe win. Eight films into his personal catalogue, Tarantino seems to have fully developed what was expected of him all those years ago with Reservoir Dogs (1992), and The Hateful Eight sees a nod to his debut as an array of characters find themselves bound together in one area.
Having said that he would like to retire after ten films, it would seem that we’ll be waving an awe-inspired goodbye to Tarantino in the foreseeable future. If his two remaining films are as boisterous and as much fun as The Hateful Eight, there is no doubt they’ll be diamonds to cherish.
What did you think of The Hateful Eight?
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– Ryan Keen