The Hateful Eight

02 Jan

The Hateful Eight – directed by Quentin Tarantino. Western. 187 minutes Color 2015.


The Story: Eight suspect characters find themselves snowbound in a haberdashery in a Wyoming Wilderness.


Well, I saw it in 70MM, for which some 100 theatres have been equipped, and the ticket cost $11, and it was sure worth every penny. The theatre was jammed. There was an intermission because three hours is too long to sit without peeing.

The usual Grand Guignol buckets of blood style Tarantino is partial to was on view when you came back from the bathroom. But all along he gives us remarkable sequences of dialogue, argument, and gallows humor. The piece is beautifully written for adult audiences. I hope you realize you’re reading a rave.

The whole picture is magnificently produced and shot and scored (Morricone), and we get plenty of time to let things sink in. What a pleasure!

So what then? We have been surrounded by terrifying beauty of a blizzard interfered with only by a six-horse stage coach galloping through it. We have been let into the interior of a great big 1870s stage stop in the middle of nowhere. And we have been introduced to eight dangerous people.

Samuel L. Jackson plays a bounty hunter; I have never seen him better. Bruce Dern plays the old Civil War General who argues the old war out. Michael Masden is great as the cowpuncher. Wolton Goggins is dangerously funny as a suspect sheriff to-be. Tim Roth is priceless as an English crook. Kurt Russell is startling as a wild ass abuser bounty hunter transporting a criminal to her hanging. Channing Tatum plays her brother. And Jennifer Jason-Leigh plays the criminal in a manner that declares that this is a role she was born to play.

Tarantino does pour gore, but it doesn’t bother me, and everyone else, I believe, found it comical. And it’s just as well because the gore is not the horror he is evoking or concentrating on for us. The battle of race goes on. The battle is witty but never glib, never merely clever.

The Hateful Eight is one of the better entertainments of the season.

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