Nine bloody Samuel L. Jacksons out of 10.
Like all Tarantino flicks, the plot of The Hateful Eight serves as a vehicle for him to do what he does best.
The story begins shortly after the Civil War following a stagecoach fleeing a blizzard in Wyoming. Tarantino rapidly introduces us to Samuel L. Jackson’s Major Warren and Kurt Russel’s John Ruth, both bounty hunters bringing their bounties into the town of Red Rock. Soon, they find themselves trapped in a lodge along with several strangers while the storm passes. The film quickly turns into a whodunit, allowing Tarantino’s talents as a director and writer to be brought out in the limelight.
The forced proximity of the ensemble cast he assembles in the lodge pushes his characteristicallywitty dialogue to the forefront. Simply listening to the film is a treat. The absorbing interplay between characters with vastly different backgrounds and motivations is one of the biggest draws ofThe Hateful Eight. The film is littered with memorable exchanges and lines that are liable to be quoted. Two things punctuate the dialogue: one is a mainstay of Tarantino’s work, while the other is unique to The Hateful Eight.
Fast, stylized, over-the-top violence pervades the film. Another principle of Tarantino’s work, he gleefully slaughters actors with an abandon unique to him. The violence is a strange compliment to the gorgeous shots of nature that dominate the negative space of the film. Beyond their purpose of establishing setting, Tarantino revels in the use of the rare 70mm lens he had to borrow from a museum to film with. With it he produces some of the most stunning shots you will see this year.
The Hateful Eight is slower paced than some of Tarantino’s previous work, more thriller than action, reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino’s first feature-length film released in 1992. This pace coupled with Tarantino’s veritable nature porn gives it a whopping 187-minute running time, a major turn off to some. However, those who don’t mind the wait will find an incredibly entertaining murder mystery with one of the most satisfying and bloody climaxes in film this year.