Saying you like Quentin Tarantino’s movies is like saying you like pizza. Of course you like them! Most people do and those that don’t should be ridiculed and shunned for the being the disturbing freaks with horrific taste in movies they truly are! Quentin Tarantino is one of the greatest film makers, alive or dead. That’s why reviewing one of his movies is pointless. Of course whatever he makes will be shot beautifully, with amazing actors delivering witty and sharp dialogue and a plot that is interesting and told by a master story teller. This we mostly know and is the main reason why Tarantino gets to make whatever movie he wants. I imagine he pitches his movies to The Weinstein’s by saying “I’m going to make a movie now.” and then he gets handed a bag with big dollar sign on it… Maybe not that simple, but I doubt he finds much resistance.
.If by now it’s not apparent, I’ll flat out say it: I am a big Tarantino fan and I also love pizza. Maybe one day Tarantino will make pizza ( I can only dream!), but until then I guess I’ll have to settle for movies. Being such a big fan of his work, I am stating right now that this is not a movie review. Not in the standard sense. This will be a giant ass kiss. But to be fair, The Hateful Eight is the best movie Tarantino has made. Yes, better than Pulp Fiction and No, not just because Kurt Russell is in it. Although, that isn’t hurting things. Seeing Mr. Russell back in westerns (This is his second Western this year after Bone Tomahawk) is one of the best things to happen to movies this year. Kurt Russell was born to play these hard edge badass and his ability to grow a mustache (much like the one feature prominently in The Hateful Eight) confirms this statement. Any man who can grow a stache like that was definitely born smoking a hand rolled cigarette and barking orders at the delivery doctor. The man is a pure authority and when he talks everyone listens.
Tarantino knows this about Russell and uses him to full badass potential here. Russell plays bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth, who has landed a $10,000 pay-day in the form Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), an outlaw wanted dead or alive. Caught in a blizzard Ruth seeks refuge at a haberdashery, which happens to be where a half-dozen or so others have stopped to wait out the blizzards. Ruth being the seasoned badass he is instantly expects foul play and suspects anyone/everyone as an accomplice of Domergue trying to save her from noose. Partnered up with Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson),a fellow bounty hunter and ex-major from the Civil War who carries around a letter he received from Abraham Lincoln, the two try their best to figure out who exactly is out to save Daisy. Which is possibly everyone under the roof.
The synopsis sounds like it could easily be a classic “who dunnit?” or even go the “10 Little Indian” route, but being Tarantino he doesn’t go down this roads exactly. Tension is built without these troupes and we get the sense almost immediately that everyone knows the game at foot here. It’s not a question of whose it, but how long until we find out. Don’t expect a big twist or shocking reveal, but do expect a bloody, brutal and entertaining third act. Done so only the way Tarantino can.
With all the hype I had around Kurt Russell being on-screen and even Samuel L Jackson (another man who steals the show no matter what role he is in) I had completely under sold the rest of the cast. Walton Goggins who plays Sheriff Chris Mannix, is quite possible the most underrated actor living right now. I at first assumed he would play another racist redneck (a part that he did has down expertly in the TV show Justified), but by the third act I was rooting for this Mannix like my life depended on it. The guy has the goods and watching him go toe to toe with giants like Jackson and Leigh was a highlight of the movie.
Speaking of Jennifer Jason Leigh, she gets the shit kicked out of her for the first 2/3’s of the movie. She’s pretty much a punching bag for Russell’s character and he is not holding back. Before you can scream misogyny, we learn in the final act that Daisy isn’t an innocent angel in all of this and we really get to see what’s going on behind those blackened eyes.
The Hateful Eight is the eighth feature film by Tarantino and it was close to never happening. After a leaked script last year left Tarantino dishearten about the project, he announced he was not interested in producing the film anymore. He did however host a live reading of the script with a majority of cast reading their futures roles. This re-instilled his love for the project and thank god that happened. If not we wouldn’t have had his best movie to date.