Tarantino fans will love ‘Hateful Eight’

Grade A


Quentin Tarantino is at his most Tarantino-y in “Hateful Eight,” a western whodunit filled with B-movie gore and pitch black comedy and a star-studded cast that plays each vile character with an entertaining glee.
Tarantino returns to the old West (and I wouldn’t mind if he stayed there for the rest of his career) but ditches the epicness of his last masterpiece, “Django,” to tell a claustrophobic tale that seems to be an homage to spaghetti westerns and John Carpenter’s paranoia-fueled classic, “The Thing.” While Tarantino has obviously evolved and grown as a filmmaker, “The Hateful Eight” largely feels like the veteran writer-director is returning to his roots.
In this movie that largely hinges on a dialogue-driven plot on one set, I was heavily reminded of Tarantino’s first film, “Reservoir Dogs,” which isn’t a bad thing. Like “Reservoir Dogs,” “The Hateful Eight” feels like it was written for the stage with Tarantino’s brand of sharp dialogue taking center stage. Say what you will about Tarantino, but that man can write some snappy dialogue.
The movie, which is set in post-Civil War old West, opens with beautiful shots of snow-covered Colorado, showing off Tarantino’s use of the old school 70 mm format, which was the trademark of the epic westerns of the 60s and 70s, though he confines the second two-thirds of the film to the indoors. Infamous bounty hunter John Ruth (a scenery chewing Kurt Russell sporting a walrus-style mustache) is on a mission to get to Red Rock to get the reward money for his prisoner, Daisy Domergue (a vicious Jennifer Jason Leigh), and to see her hang (hence his nickname “The Hangman”).
Along the way, Ruth’s stagecoach stops to pick up Major Marquis Warren (played by Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson), who is a former Union soldier and current bounty hunter. They also pick up Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins in one of the best roles of his career), a former guerilla soldier fighting for the South who claims he is the next sheriff of Red Rock. The four wayward souls have some interesting (to say the least) conversations within the cramped confines of the stagecoach.
With an impending blizzard on the way, the crew can’t make it to Red Rock and decides to hole up in a way station known as Minnie’s Haberdashery. Warren, who has been to the way station many times, knows something is up when the business’s owners, Minnie and her husband, are missing.
In their place are a group of questionable fellows, including Mexican Bob (Demian Bichir), who claims to be running the place while Minnie is away; Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), who claims to be the local hangman; a mysterious cowboy named Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and old General Smithers (Bruce Dern), who served the Confederate Army.


The Lebanon Daily Record

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