The eighth film from Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight, as with every QT effort these days, certainly has a lot to live up to. And rightly so, for this is a man who can lay claim to being one of the very best filmmakers of his generation. Of course, though, with great hype comes great responsibility, and the big question is whether this latest Western of Tarantino’s has enough bullets to get the job done.
As The Hateful Eight opens, we’re introduced to bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his most recent bounty, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Ruth’s plan is to take his prisoner to the town of Red Rock and collect the $10,000 prize placed on her head. Picking up passengers along the way in the form of fellow bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), it’s not long before the snowy conditions of Wyoming cause our crew to hole up in a stagecoach stopover for a few days. Along with Ruth’s driver O.B. (James Parks), this ragtag crew then find themselves in the company of a group of strangers (Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Demian Bichir) as all may not be quite as peaceful and serene as it appears.
The basic plot of The Hateful Eight really doesn’t do it justice, but it’s really impossible to elaborate on any further details for fear of spoilers. Safe to say, Tarantino has brought tension and atmosphere by the bucketload as a tale of twists and turns unravels before our eyes. Channeling many of the aspects that made Westerns such must-see movies decades prior, QT, as ever, pays homage whilst putting his own unique spin on things. The colours, saturation and intensity of an old classic are all present, whilst the snappy Tarantino dialogue and gruesome-when-needed violence make this a very adult Western.
Assisted by a fantastic Ennio Morricone score, the film’s cast all add to the drama and enjoyment as they take turns in being the centre of the movie’s attention. Jackson puts in his best performance in many a year, Jennifer Jason Leigh is fantastic when given the chance to be more than Kurt Russell’s punch bag, Walton Goggins steals the show at times, and every cast member, be they minor or major, bring genuine quality to this latest QT effort.
To any and all fans of Tarantino’s work, The Hateful Eight will be a wonderful slow-burn experience that showcases a true master of his craft. For those who aren’t fully on board the Quentin bandwagon, though, this film could prove a little drawn out and overindulgent. Luckily for us, we’re firmly in the former, and as such The Hateful Eight is a stunning piece of cinema that gets 2016 off with a bang.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: QUENTIN TARANTINO / STARRING: SAMUEL L. JACKSON, KURT RUSSELL, JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, WALTON GOGGINS, JAMES PARKS, TIM ROTH, MICHAEL MADSEN, BRUCE DERN, DEMIAN BICHIR, CHANNING TATUM / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 8TH
Expected Rating: 8 out of 10