The Hateful Eight
Release year: 2015
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks
Ratings: 3 Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Best Cinematography, Best Original Score. 1 Golden Globe: Best Original Score. 2 Golden Globe nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Best Screenplay.
During a snow blizzard bounty hunter Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) gets a lift with the stagecoach transporting fellow bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his prisoner Daisy Domergur (Jennifer Jason leigh) to Red Rock where she is going to hang. Forced to seek shelter at Minnie’s Haberdashery, they get snowed in with an unfamiliar group of people. Soon it becomes clear that not everyone will survive the meeting.
Leave it to Tarantino to mix a western with a whodunnit and get away with it so excellently. Being a Tarantino film it is even accompagnied by stunning Pictures, fantastic characters, sharp dialogue, and an amazing soundtrack leaving you very surprised he didn’t recieve an oscar nomination for best screenplay, and with high expectations that the movie will snatch the golden statue for best original score. Tarantino usually uses source music for his movies but have here decided to work with an original score for which he chose acknowledged western composer Ennio Morricone to create. The director is clearly a fan of the Italian composer having used his work in several of his films, but this is the first western to be scored by Morricone in 40 years. The choice is an excellent one. Morricone’s music is breathtakingly beautiful, lulling you into submission while a few notes jumps in and creates an unbearable tension giving you a hint of what’s to come. But this is Tarantino and it wouldn’t be without a screenplay of colourful personas and great dialogue, including a typical long story here delivered by Jackson. Mr. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, 1994), here collaborating with the director for the sixth time, continues to prove that the two are a match made in heaven and delivers some of his best work as the infamous bounty hunter with history and, according to some of the men seeking cover with him, the wrong colour. He delivers a great presence and steals every scene, only close to being matched by an utterly cool Russell (The Thing, 1982) looking every bit the part with his grand moustache and take-no-shit attitude. For some reason Tarantino has a real gift when it comes to creating strong female characters and Daisy Domergue is no exception. Hateful, carefree, and brave she is brought brilliantly to life by a great performance from Leigh (Kill Your Darling, 2013) who manages to make Daisy so spiteful you almost forget to feel sorry for her. The twists and turns are only obvious in the way that you undoubtly know things are not at all what they seem, but are otherwise intransparent and surprising making the movie as much a crime taking place in the Old West as a western about revenge and hate. Tarantino takes his time, never rushing but also never losing our attention, as he skillfully takes us through his story until we reach the climax you just know is coming and even then he doesn’t disappoint. There have been mixed reactions to the movie and it is undoubtedly a required taste, but if you have a taste for good storytelling then there is a chance you will enjoy having QT tell you his story (quite literally as he narrates the movie) and if you have a chance watching it in the Panavision 70 mm form it was filmed in, then by all means take it, as I can only imagine how stunning this brilliant movie looks in the form intended by its maker.
The Hateful Eight was almost never made as production halted in early 2014 after the script was leaked (shame on you whoever did it!) but luckily Tarantino decided to make it anyway.
Picture copyright: Scanbox