Quintessentially Tarantino: Hateful Eight is a swaggering, racist, unapologetic, vulgar Western painted in the broad bloody strokes of Quentin Tarantino.
You can always trust Tarantino to deliver on three things, great dialogue interwoven with a lot of swear words, sequences of bloody violence and plenty of moments that leave you enlightened or with a bad taste in your mouth. And in this case, he does not disappoint, he delivers on all three and then some. The movie, released on December 25th, stars Bruce Dern, Samuel L Jackson, Walton Goggins, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Madsen and Demian Bichir. The movie takes place sometime after the civil war and revolves around eight strangers taking refuge from a blizzard at a cottage in the middle of nowhere.
The film shot in the 70mm film format gives the picture a genuine Western feel while the cameras showcase the snow-capped landscape that offers an inviting break from the otherwise ugly scene(s) unfolding before us. Tarantino manages to combine three genres – Western, mystery and horror- all at once with a dialogue-heavy script that is both vulgar, poignant and yet utterly honest. The dialogue recited brilliantly by each of the stars paints a sadistic and an unjust picture of America; especially when it comes to the monologues that offer each character a moment to craft a toxic, vivid and intense experience. One of the most offensive, vengeful and angriest monologues delivered by Major Marquis played by Samuel L Jackson leaves you with a slight sense of uncleanliness. (For you to understand how angry this monologue was you need to watch the movie.)
The film deliberately takes its time to introduce its characters beginning with Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), John ‘the hangman’ Ruth (Kurt Russell) and Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). And later, Sherriff Chris Mannix (Walter Goggins) all with a coach ride that is both funny and uncomfortably racist. It becomes even more atrocious when the two men seem to bond over their mutual hatred for Daisy. (Side note: Jennifer Jason Leigh plays this character brilliantly).
The four later meet up with another four people – Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern), John Gage (Michael Madsen) and Bob (Demian Bichir) at an isolated cabin called Minnie Haberdashery where the swearing, woman bashing and blatant racism continues. The scene later segues into a mystery of whodunit that culminates in a bloodbath that leaves Mannix and Major Marquis both lying in a pool of their own blood seemingly waiting to die.
The movie delivers this in 6 scenes:
1. Last Stage to Red Rock
2. Son of a Gun
3. Minnie’s Haberdashery
4. Dormorgue’s got a secret
5. The four passengers
6. Black man, white hell
The Hateful Eight makes no apologies for its pervasiveness. In the end, the movie is questioning the myriad of injustices that America has swept under the rug and that the world has forgotten. You’re either going to love it or hate it, as is the case with all of Tarantino’s movies.