The Hateful Eight (2015) – Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino’s eighth film let him tackle the fringes of the western genre, and features a beautiful score by iconic composer Ennio Morricone. With his sharp ear for dialogue and engaging storytelling, Tarantino pays homage to the Italian Spaghetti Westerns and classic American films of the same genre, as well, apparently, to the 1982 classic Carpenter remake of The Thing.

Featuring a recognizable and top-notch cast led by Kurt Russell, there is Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walter Goggins, James Parks, Zoe Bell, and Channing Tatum, The Hateful Eight is, almost, a single-location film.

John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth (Russell) is on his way to Red Rock with a ten thousand dollar bounty in the form of the foul-mouthed Daisy Domergue (Leigh), when a blizzard traps him and two fellow travelers, Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) and Chris Mannis (Goggins), the supposed new sheriff of Red Rock, at a halfway point known as Minnie’s Haberdashery.

Once there, they are trapped by the storm, and soon find that the others at the stop, including Oswaldo (Roth), General Smithers (Dern), and Joe Gage (Madsen) may have ulterior motives for being there. Motives that may center on freeing Daisy.

With sharp dialogue, sharply constructed sequences, and some fantastic practical effects by Greg Nicotero, the film ratchets the tension higher and higher until it comes to a violent and bloody conclusion.

For some reason, this is the one Tarantino it has taken me forever to get around to seeing, and I don’t know why. I usually see them pretty quick, and most times in theaters, but somehow this one just got by me, and then the three-hour run time also begged a commitment as well.

I found it to be totally worth the time, and honestly, I really enjoyed this one. Russell has always been one of my favorite actors and putting him in a western with actors of the caliber presented here lets all of them excel.

Yes, some of the dialogue is harsh, racist, and crude, but that’s the point, and Tarantino isn’t only reflecting the time the story was set, but a lot of the racial tensions that seem increasingly prevalent in America today, all explored under the concept of frontier justice.

Oswaldo makes some interesting points on the subject of justice vs. frontier (or vigilante) justice, points that should hopefully make the viewers think and discuss even as they soak in this blood-drenched Tarantino Experience.

As Morricone’s score weaves throughout the film, as haunting as the powerful blizzard that hammers the ramshackle building truths are revealed, and trouble is confronted, but will anyone be able to walk away from The Hateful Eight? Saddle up and find out.

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