The Hateful Eight is the eighth film written and directed by four-time nominee and two-time Oscar winner, Quentin Tarantino. The Hateful Eight is Tarantino’s second western following the success of Django Unchained. The Hateful Eight was released in two formats, the regular digital format and a special “Roadshow” edition captured on 70 millimeter film and shown in select theaters on 70 millimeter projectors. Additionally, the Roadshow edition was longer than the digital cut and included an intermission.
In the beginning of the film things start out quite slow and continue that way throughout the first half. Action film junkies beware, because this movie is very dialogue-heavy. It takes place in a stagecoach, stable and an outhouse through the first hour, but the duration of the movie is spent in Minnie’s Haberdashery, a quaint rest house for weary travelers that turns into a slaughterhouse.
After all the characters are acquainted, things start to get very interesting. While westerns are not usually my cup of tea, this movie was able to keep me on the edge of my seat with its elements of mystery. The cinematography was beautiful; the long landscape shots of snowy Wyoming were particularly dazzling, and the original score composed by Ennio Morricone was truly breathtaking. A true lover of film must see this in 70mm format, as seeing this in digital format would not provide the same experience because the movie was filmed using a resurrected 70mm panavision camera. So just as any artist intends for his fans to see an original rather than a replica, viewing this movie in any other way than intended by the filmmaker would be an injustice.
The ensemble cast stars Jennifer Jason Leigh as an outlaw named Daisy Domergue. Leigh’s performance stuck out as one of the best in this film. She is pitted against a cast of all men so Leigh stands a beacon, demonstrating that women can be “tough” just like men. Traveling with Leigh is Kurt Russell’s character, John Ruth, who is a bounty hunter. Ruth’s plan is to bring Domergue to be hanged in the town of Red Rock via stagecoach, where he will collect a reward. On their way, the stagecoach brings Major Marquis Warren played by Samuel L. Jackson, who is also a bounty hunter and Mannix played by Walton Goggins, who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock. When these three arrive at Minnie’s, the rest of the cast is introduced—a Mexican named Bob, a Confederate general, a silent cowboy and a British man named Oswaldo Mobray. They introduced a random stranger, but something is not right about these people.
Fans of Tarantino’s work might be a bit disappointed with the pace of the movie and its lack of gory action sequences throughout the first half. After intermission, the pace speeds up and provides viewers with some background on the characters and their goals. Furthermore, Tarantino’s signature bloody scenes make a triumphant return to the screen.
The ending to The Hateful Eight is an amazing end to all the conflicts, and it goes out in Tarantino’s signature gruesome fashion. It was an extremely satisfying end to yet another Tarantino hit.