The Hateful Eight (2015)

It's a shame that Quentin Tarantino has made other movies. If it weren't for Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Django Unchained, this could have been a break-out movie that launched the career of a struggling or new director. Instead, this is just going to get lumped in with the cannon of a director who broke out with a signature style that others have tried to emulate, but most have failed.

I think it's clear that I really liked this movie. It comes with the telltale Tarantino indulgences like long, boring camera shots to establish some scenes, excessively bloody deaths, a heap of expositions, named chapter separators on screen, and out of sequence scenes. The voiceover in the middle of the movie was particularly annoying and incongruous, but all of these issues can be forgiven of a supremely talented director.

When you have as much pull at Quentin has in Hollywood, you get a budget. Now, this movie primarily takes place entirely inside a single room cabin in the middle of nowhere during a snowstorm, so you would think that would make it inexpensive. This movie cost $44 million to make. It is clear that they had money to make the movie, and they spent it to make it look as good as they could. The sets, the effects, the cinematography, and pretty much every little thing that makes a movie is as polished as it can get. But that's not where all the money went.

Samuel L Jackson is a retired union officer who makes his living as a bounty hunter in the snowy hills of Wyoming. He gets reluctantly picked up by the recalcitrant fellow bounty hunter, Kurt Russell (sporting the same look as he had in Bone Tomahawk), who has paid for a private coach to ferry notorious criminal Jennifer Jason Leigh to the nearest town so he can collect his reward. With weather bearing down on them, they seek refuge in a small cabin on top of a mountain that is used as a way station by weary travelers.

Currently inside the cabin are the thus far underrated Walton Goggins, the relative unknown Demián Bichir, the interminably talented Tim Roth, the gruff and reliable Michael Madsen, and the grumpy countenance of Bruce Dern. These eight people make the Hateful Eight who have to deal with each other and their own paranoia for the three days that it will take for the blizzard to pass. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is where the money for this movie went. That's a lot of talent doing a lot of long scenes with each other.

Supporting the main cast are such good supporting actors as James Parks, Channing Tatum, Dana Gourrier, and the veteran Tarantino stuntwoman/actress Zoë Bell. The movie is classified as a mystery, as the goal is to try to figure out who may or may not be working to free Jennifer before she gets delivered for the impending hanging. There are several good sub-plots that keep the story going like the tension between the North and the South, hatred of Mexicans, a new sheriff travelling to the local town, and the mysteriously missing owner of the cabin.

Direction was indulgent, but fantastic
Acting was exemplary
Cinematography was very good
Story was compelling
Dialogue was excellent

Bottom Line: It seems like fantastic Westerns are the new thing - and I'm gratified.

4.75/5

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