Quentin Tarantino has again proven why he is one of the greatest living directors today.
The Hateful Eight is a film to be savoured time and time again with new experiences and layers discovered with each viewing. Surrounded by a cast of outstanding actors (many of whom are veterans of Tarantino’s earlier works), a script that is ripe with some of the best dialogue around (and would make for an excellent stage play), and a musical score by one of the greatest living film composers (Ennio Morricone), you have a recipe for a classic that will be studied alongside Tarantino’s other classic works like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.
Set in Wyoming during the time of President Lincoln, The Hateful Eight plays like a grand western epic. Drawing inspiration from Sergio Leone’s and David Lean’s epics, Tarantino sets the scene up with some outstanding scenic shots. It is not long before we meet three of the main protagonists in the film – bounty hunters Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson in yet another superb performance under this director) and John Ruth (a career-best performance by Kurt Russell).
Ruth is escorting Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh in top form) – a killer who is going to be hanged in nearby Red Rock. They soon pick up a fourth person in the guise of newly elected Red Rock Sheriff Chris Mannix (played to perfection by Walton Goggins). This unlikely group find themselves in need of shelter at a way station during a blizzard. It is there we meet pretty much the rest of the ensemble who will carry the film to its shocking climax.
Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern (as Bob, Oswaldo Mobray, Joe Gage and General Sanford Smithers respectively) round out the stellar leads in this movie. Each actor brings life to some of the most fleshed out characters Tarantino has ever written, and that is no mean feat!
Over the course of nearly three hours, we see a tale of deception and lies unfolded and then fed back on itself, told in a way that only Tarantino can. His unique eye for detail through the lens is almost unparalleled today. There is so much going on around the edges it can be easy to miss subtle clues placed there for the audience.
That is not to say that the film couldn’t have used a bit of trimming in the rather wordy first half. Also having his regular stunt woman, Zoe Bell, play a New Zealander from Auckland (speaking with a very modern New Zealand accent) seemed like a little bit of a misstep in casting and spoils the illusion of the world Tarantino creates in the first half of the film.
Tarantino’s body of work continues to improve with each film he makes and The Hateful Eight is no exception. Lovers of Tarantino’s work will relish this movie and lovers of film will also enjoy a film that forces its audience to pay attention instead of bombarding the senses with CGI and noise. Go and see this on the big screen while you can!
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Rating out of 10: 9
The Hateful Eight will be released in cinemas across Australian from 14 January 2016.