Nothing But Love for The Hateful Eight


From Left To Right: Tim Roth, Kurt Russel, Jennifer Jason Leigh

There are two kinds of people: those who see a trailer for a film in the theatre and think, oh, that looks good. Then there are those who learn about a film during its earliest stages of production and prepare themselves for the film for years on end. I am one of those people. Obviously there can be negative consequences surrounding the hype… what is the point if the film is a disappointment? So naturally, I started getting a little anxious when I read a couple of negative reviews for a film I’ve been waiting for for nearly two years: Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.


I am elated to report that those critics could not have been more wrong. I feel nothing but love for The Hateful Eight, and it being one of the best films of the year only solidifies Tarantino’s position as my favorite filmmaker of all time. Every aspect of it is strong: the directing, the story, the dialogue, the individual actors as well as their synchronization as an ensemble, and of course, the excellent score by legendary composer Ennio Morricone, known for scoring films like The Good The Bad and The Ugly and Once Upon a Time In The West, and who won a golden globe this past Sunday for his work.


While it may not qualify for some as a ‘true western,’ just as Tarantino’s last film Django: Unchained did not, the Hateful Eight has one of the most compelling and suspenseful narratives of the year. It takes place amidst a cold blizzard in Wyoming a few years after the civil war. Major Marquis Warren, a stoic, collected bounty hunter played by none other than a Tarantino regular, Samuel L. Jackson, encounters another more extraverted and commanding bounty hunter, John Ruth ‘The Hangman’, played outstandingly by Kurt Russell, the nickname being derived from the character’s insistence on turning his bounties in alive and watching them hang. With him is a prisoner, Daisy Domergue, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, whose performance is, without hesitation, one of the best this year.


Ruth is determined to take Domergue to the town of Red Rocks to be hung, where he can collect ten thousand dollars, but the blizzard forces the three, as well as a man they meet who claims to be the newly appointed sheriff of Red Rocks (played by Walton Goggins, to perfection and with comedic prowess), to spend the night in a haberdashery with four other strangers: a hangman (played by Tim Roth), a former confederate general (played by Bruce Dern), the caretaker of the haberdashery (played by Demian Bichir) and a cattle herder (played by Michael Madsen). The suspense builds as John Ruth is convinced that someone in the haberdashery is not who they claim to be, and plans on freeing Daisy and killing everyone else.


The Hateful Eight has themes signature to some of Tarantino’s more recent works, such as racism, power, and of course, violence, and it should be noted that any Tarantino film is imbued with gory violence, his newest one being no exception. But it is his first film in over ten years that isn’t about revenge. While it probably ranks on the lower half of the eight films directed by Tarantino, I would go as far as to say that it is perhaps the best film of 2015. The dialogue is incredible, both unique and authentic. There’s a great moment where Samuel L. Jackson looks directly into the camera while talking with the former confederate and delivers a line that is for both the general and the audience, perhaps an homage to Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood on Netflix’s House of Cards.


I’m also proud to say that I was able to watch the extended version of the film projected in 70mm. Tarantino, an advocate for films shot on actual film and not digitally, shot The Hateful Eight entirely in 70mm and first released it in 100 theatres across the country just on film projectors, reviving technology from over fifty years ago. Though I’m not sure the crusade will inspire theatres to start reinstalling film projectors and convert back from digital projectors, seeing The Hateful Eight as Tarantino intended for people to see it definitely added a little bit of magic to it. Though there is no longer a chance to see the film in 70mm, I still strongly encourage anyone and everyone looking for entertainment, great acting, suspense, unbeatable dialogue, and true cinema prowess to watch Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.