The Hateful eight combines grit, drama, suspense and bloody violence in order to push the Western genre to another level.
When I found out about “The Hateful Eight 70mm Roadshow” release, I just knew I had to attend this special event at the Rivoli cinemas in Camberwell. The roadshow edition provided us with a printed program about the film, an opening overture and an intermission introduced approximately at the two hour mark of the film. All these wonderful nostalgic elements improved my experience a great deal as I enjoyed the official eighth film by one of my favourite directors, Quentin Tarantino.
The story is set years after the civil war and tells the journey of two bounty hunters, a prisoner and a sheriff travelling through the harsh winter landscapes of Wyoming on a stagecoach speeding towards a town called Red Rock. The four eventually take necessary shelter from the pursuing blizzard at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach lodge where they are greeted by a number of suspicious strangers with unknown agendas. As cabin fever sets in on all guests, paranoia mounts to a boiling point, eventually the nefarious characters reveal their true motives, which ends with a climatic explosion of violence and blood shed.
Every character shined brightly upon that majestic 70mm projection, every casting choice delivered flawless Quentin Tarantino dialogue to a T; Samuel Jackson once again a standout star that never fails his lines, Kurt Russell simply ruthless as the ‘Hangman’, Jennifer Jason lee determined and gritty, while Walton Goggins was charismatic yet ignorant in his claims to the new sheriff of Red Rock. The flavourful Tim Roth strikes again, Bruce Dern seasoned as ‘the Confederate General’, Michael Madsen brings more darkness to an already dark plot and Demian Bichir (Bob) who at times a little awkward to understand due to his thick ‘Mehican’ accent completed the entirety of the hateful eight. Special mention goes to a wonderful cameo appearance by Channing Tatum, both charming and surprising to see him fit so well along side his fellow screen legends.
As expected, The Hateful Eight whips up plenty of controversy, the repeated use of the ‘N’ word, the great deal of unapologetic violence and perhaps one of the most outrageous monologue sequence delivered by Samuel Jackson, spliced up with confronting cut scenes that make you uncomfortable at your best, I sat there awkwardly, desperate to avoid the ultimate outcome while trying to piece together the rationality of what I had just witnessed.
The technical aspects of the Hateful Eight where meticulous handled, the “Ultra Panavision 70” stunningly captured each frame with so much beauty and definition, lovely drenched colours of the west were sublime to look at along with excellent use of lighting and shadows to give depth to the compositions. I also loved the original sound track by Ennio Morricone, the music really complemented the tone of the film, I was especially impressed with the hauntingly sensational overture, followed then what was one of the best opening credits to a feature I have ever seen; so captivating yet so simple in execution.
The Hateful Eight roadshow edition does have a hefty run-time at just over three hours, the film spends a great portion setting up some fascinating characters in a plodding fashion, a well deserved intermission aids the overall momentum and setups up the action to awaken the faint hearted. Despite a signature Quentin Tarantino sequence that might come across a little ‘self indulgent‘, the Hateful Eight is supremely entertaining and worth every ticket of admission.
My initial reactions were undoubtedly swayed by some friends I watched the film with, whom had expressed dislike to the film, but after re-playing the experience in my head I was able to digest my feelings and form some new conclusions:
One, I really appreciated the slow, methodical pace, the build up of these rich characters were essential to story’s suspense, which resulted in one of the better endings to a Quentin Tarantino film.
Two, I enjoyed the screenplay very much, the characters were written with so much passion, Quentin really pushed his writing further than before, he made giant step towards creating intrigue and mystery, which was an evolution handled with effortless class.
Three, I admire him for the special roadshow release of the film, giving a new generation the opportunity to experience something new but in such a classical way, this post production exercise demonstrates just how enthusiastic Tarantino is when it comes to film making.
I believe we will eventually look back in five or ten years and realise a classic was born with The Hateful Eight, a masterpiece shot ahead of its time, where film making was pushed in a direction that broke new grounds for the Western genre. I highly recommend The Hateful Eight to all who loves going to a cinema for that out of body experience, it’s a film that should not be missed by any and if you are a Quentin Tarantino fan, then you are most likely planning your second viewing.
The Hateful Eight combines grit, drama, suspense, mystery and bloody violence in order to push the Western genre to another level. Quentin Tarantino in my opinion delivers another cult classic, his rigorous planning and pristine execution makes him one of the best living directorial legends of our generation.