Swanner: We just saw The Hateful Eight in an hour ago, and I’m still very excited. I’m a huge Tarantino fan, and while the rest of the world waited for Star Wars, I waited for Tarantino’s newest gift, a post civil war western. The film follows John Ruth (Kurt Russell) a bounty hunter handcuffed to Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), his bounty, that he’s taking to Red Rock to hang. Along the way to Red Rock they pick up two strangers, but because of a impending storm they have to stop at a 1800’s rest stop called Minnie’s Haberdashery and then all hell breaks loose.
The movie also features Tarantino Players Tim Roth as Red Rock Hangman Oswaldo Mobray, Samuel L Jackson as Union Major Marquis Warren, and Michael Madsen as cowboy Joe Gage; as well as Bruce Dern as Confederate General Sandy Smithers and Walt Goggins as Sheriff Chris Mannix. The movie, clocking in at a swift three hours and four minutes, is as much a Whodunit as it is a Western. The majority of the film takes place in a single room cabin, Minnie’s, with Ruth being suspicious of everyone and Warren looking for an excuse to kill Confederate General Smithers. Blood and the N-Word abound.
What I love about Tarantino is that he loves film. Every film he makes goes on his own favorite film list, and I admire that. I’m not sure if it’s our similar age or the love for 70’s drive-in movies, but I really connect with his films. He doesn’t let history rule his stories, if he wants to kill Hitler he will, if he wants to blow up a slave plantation, he will, and I can’t get enough. Here, he creates an Agatha Christie murder mystery western placed in snowed in cabin filled with killers. Yes, it’s violent and yes, he does find away of insulting just about everyone, but the script is so beautifully written you don’t care.
Tarantino is an exploitation director; his movies are gourmet junk food, which explains his incessant use of racial slurs and violence. It’s actually much milder than what you would get from a back-in-the-day original. You mentioned the script, but the cinematography, staging, lighting and score are all epic. The Hateful Eight is a big movie, shot in a extremely wide format, with a grand, lush soundtrack by Ennio Morricone, known for scoring Italian Spaghetti Westerns. Every shaft of light, snow drift, particle of dust that floated across the screen seemed to be expertly placed by Tarantino. The Hateful Eight has replaced Kill Bill as my favorite Tarantino movie.
I totally agree on how amazing the folks are behind the camera. He always challenges his cast and crew and they always give him their best. It was so nice listening to that wonderful overture before the film. It was like foreplay, all I needed was a cup of coffee and some of Minnie’s beef stew. Whether this becomes my favorite Tarantino film or not, it will always be remembered as the best Christmas present I got this year.
Swanner: 4 stars
Judd: 5 stars