The Hateful Eight – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

the hateful 8The Hateful Eight – 4/5 – A Quentin Tarantino film is what you call a truly cinematic experience.  No matter if it is Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill; his films always deliver on the promise of a trail of indifferent flavor.  This new entry into his catalog is another that doesn’t let up from that experience.  With the greatness of the script, individualistic characters and overall original flavor in tone; The Hateful Eight is a journey that will be sadistic to some, but stands out as an amazing experience at the theaters.

Premise: In a snow covered Wyoming winter, a group of eight individuals are trapped in a cabin.  As tension builds, the nefarious situations becomes more than just what it is.  As the mystery of truth comes to the forefront, it is soon apparent that not everyone will make it out of this winter alive.

There are a handful of characters in this film.  Outside of the obvious secondary character; the rest give very standout, unique performances that can be classified as individualistic.  As is with this kind of film from QT, their dialogue is the driving force of their personalities.  In this film you have:

Samuel L Jackson as Major Marquis Warren

Kurt Russell as John Ruth

Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue

Walton Goggins as Sheriff Chris Mannix

Demian Bichir as Bob

Tim Roth as Oswaldo Mobray

Michael Madsen as Joe Gage

Bruce Dern as General Sandy Smithers

There are quite a few others in the film (secondary characters); but they play mostly as plot driven characters to move this simple tale along.  Just to further explain the characters above, the raw realism that comes from them is the dialogue.  With a master behind the camera (QT); you get a true sense of what it means to have character development through the art of conversation.  From each individualistic scene; you get a sense of their past, passion and subtle hints of intent.  There is a stark visceral feeling that develops from each of them that parleys to the tone the film; one that makes you see the layers of angst, suspicion and watchful eye on ‘who is it’.  The main lead is Jackson’s Major Marquis Warren.  In this role, he fully commands the screen with his strong charisma.  The power you feel within his dialogue is a mastery of his control of words and wit.  He makes you feel the tension through his expositional stature, one where you know he won’t take anything from no one.  Kurt Russell as John Ruth is just as comparable to Jackson’s character.  He has a ‘John Wayne’ flavor in his personality, but gives an arrogant tone to it.  Jennifer Jason Leigh is a standout in her role as the captive Daisy Domergue.  She is vile in every sense of the word, but that brute honesty is what brings colorful delight to her character.  The rest of the cast are all strong within their roles, but come off more like cartoonish complexion of a western saga at times.  Even so; it doesn’t deter from the fact that they add pseudo bravado to the film.  There addition sways the film’s tone slightly, but it makes you see layers upon layers of deception.

The direction is built on the dialogue.  Quentin Tarantino is a master of scripting conversations; directing the purpose of storytelling through the art of talking.  This craft makes you feel tension, power and emotional depth throughout the whole film.  Ideally; the performances of the characters are drawn out from the captivation of the script.  This will make you sit, think and wonder what are the real motivations throughout the film.  Placed in a western setting, QT pulls out a different spin to the typical western tale.  Mixing in this ‘on the surface’ approach with genres of mystery and drama, you get a film that is presented with a ‘who did it?’ mentality blended with the sadistic nature of the violence that can happen from the lawless behavior of these characters.  This film acts are just as unique as the script.  It is divided within chapters; helping bridge a directive that is straight forward.   For the staunch script and characters, there is a very glaring aspect of the plot being very thin. Even with this obvious thread, it is something that doesn’t deter from the experience.  When we meet our characters, we are first introduced to Major Marquis Warren as he is trapped in a snow storm.  He hitches a ride with John Ruth, who is taking Daisy Domergue to be hanged at Red Rock.  Eventually, they make their way towards an outpost, where they meet the rest of the cast of colorful characters.  Here, they are all trapped from the snow storm and have to live a few days within this tavern.  What you come to realize is that everyone’s true motivations starts to seep through, and what is bubbling on the surface is a mystery that there is something sinister going on.  With the slow setup, the film breaks in with some obvious tension.  It is raw, strong and overall masterful.  Watching each character interact with one another is poignant in a vile way.  The bravado is original, the situations are realistic, and the overall confrontations are built up strongly through a slow burn approach.  The subtle hints at things brings the web of mystery to the forefront; not only helping build the experience but also the characters.  As with most QT films; there is a climatic situation where the dialogue driven film turns into a corral of violence.  This happens at the peak of the ominous tone; something you expect from all the other films in his catalog.  It is over-the-top and in your face.  The shock value is somewhat tantalizing, but at the same time it can be consider a distraction from the buildup of the mystery and excellent exposition.  Even so, there is entertainment in these scenes.  Once you get to the end, the film comes back around full circle.  The characters leave you with a conversational dialogue that shows a conclusion of originality.  You see that the film begins and ends with the most important thing; the characters.

The visuals are some of the best for a film in his catalog.  With capturing the raw essence of a western, we get a background of a vast open range of what is the countryside of Wyoming.  The snowy landscapes of the mountains and fields makes you feel the era of this film.  Even when we follow the characters and stay stationary within one tavern, you still feel a stark realism of the situation.  The angles used pulls out the emotional vigor of each of the characters.  With focus on facial expression, stationary camera work and landscape of the ‘inside’; each of the characters emotional angst is developed with a signature of purity instead of being manufactured to invoke conflict.  It is an honest approach, letting the visuals blend with the dialogue.  The score is just as amazing as the rest of the film.  The music is drawn with a mixture of ‘loudness’ of orchestra melodies and the ‘power’ of the bass.  The surrounding encompasses the mood of the film.  When the music strikes; you see the stark tension of each individual moment, knowing that at any turn something different will happen.

The Hateful Eight is another great film with strong dialogue from Quentin Tarantino.  The slickness of the script driven by some great performances; this is a film that stands strong as an original western with a hint of mystery.  Even if the plot is thin and some of the characters come off cartoonish; it never deters from the experience.  If you’re a fan of westerns, dialogue driven films or the director, this is one for you.  This film is worth the full price, and a great film to see with a bunch of friends whom enjoy the same.

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