The Hateful Eight (2015)
Genre : Mystery/Western
Country : USA
Kurt Russell : John Ruth
Samuel L. Jackson : Major Marquis Warren
Jennifer Jason Leigh : Daisy Domergue
Director : Quentin Tarantino
“Now, Daisy, I want us to work out a signal system of communication.
When I elbow you real hard in the face, that means: shut up.”
Countless film enthusiasts were waiting impatiently for the new “Star Wars” movie last year. Believe it or not, I wasn’t really. On the contrary, I was waiting for the new film by Quentin Tarantino. Sorry Tarantino haters, but Yankee Doodle Dandee, this was again a brilliant film by the most rebellious, anarchic director Hollywood ever saw. You have to give him credit for one thing : he remained true to his personal style. So once again we get a typical Tarantino movie with acrimonious dialogues, racist statements and a bloody apotheosis. The end result is a kind of “Reservoir Dogs” mixed with “Django Unchained“, which takes place in a small space as in “From dusk till dawn“. I hope Quentin’s abandons the intention to make only 10 films. But isn’t it time he changed his routine a bit?
Are you a big fan of classic Italian spaghetti westerns? Well you’ll be enthusiastic when the movie begins in all its grand splendor. A snowy landscape with in the foreground a cross covered with snow. And while slowly zooming out, you can see a stagecoach approaching in the far distance. This is accompanied by music of Ennio Morricone and text in a font type that can be associated with old westerns. The moment this chariot stops willfully (after a long period) because Samuel L. Jackson, sitting on a pile of corpses, blocks the road, it’s the start of a nearly 3-hour immersive cowboy story full of mystery and revenge. A kind of Cluedo in a cabin. Except that there won’t be a solution that sounds like “The colonel committed the murder with a candlestick in the billiard room”, but rather “Which of the eight people who took shelter in Minnie’s Haberdashery because of a snowstorm, will endure the storm”.
The hateful 8 are almost all old acquaintances of Tarantino and appeared in one of his earlier film projects. First there’s Samuel L. Jackson, who recently starred in “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (after some less impressive performances) and in the past appeared in “Pulp Fiction“, as the bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren. Samuel L. Jackson as I like to see him: raw, angrily defending himself and disturbingly brutal. The white bounty hunter John Ruth is played by veteran Kurt “Death Proof” Russell. A bounty hunter just like Major Warren, but suspicious and protective when it comes to the award he’s getting for his prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Along the way they pick up Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton “Django Unchained” Goggins), who’s on his way to Red Rock, the place where Ruth wants to get his money. The blizzard however prevents them from travelling further and they have to sit out the storm in Minnie’s cabin. And this in company of a Mexican called Bob (Demian Bichir), the executioner Oswaldo Mobray (Tim “Reservoir dogs” Roth), the wandering cowboy Joe Gage (Michael “Reservoir dogs” Madsen) and former general Sandy Smithers (Bruce “Django Unchained“ Dern). So everything is prepared now for a thoughtful game of ‘whodunit’ with Domergue at stake.
Despite the long runtime (3 hours is a bit too much), the movie isn’t boring for a second. The conversation at the beginning between Jackson and Russell is a foretaste of what comes afterwards. Because the whole film is full of such hilarious conversations. The film is neatly divided into six chapters. The story is explained in detail painfully slow. And as required in a real Tarantino, the film is peppered with humor, rude and racist comments and an exaggerated end with massively flowing blood. And all this in a meticulously elaborate and detailed decor. It looks more like a Shakespearean drama.
Needless to say that the acting of the various characters deserve the most praise, because the film consists mainly out of brilliant dialogues. A memorable joust with witty arguments and dialogs which made sure the tension increased. The contributions of Russell and Jackson were in this case of a high level. The only rather bizarre choice for me by Tarantino is the presence of Channing Tatum. I would have prefered an appearance of Christoph Waltz.
Maybe I’m a little biased because I’m a huge admirer of the work that Tarantino always delivers. And yet I think “The hateful Eight” isn’t his most successful creation, even though it’s a wonderful masterpiece. Perhaps it’s because I see through the concept that Tarantino uses and the surprise element is completely gone. The way the dialogues are structures, is indeed always the same. The repetitive nature of dialogues and the phrases that follow eachother at breakneck speed as if they are fired by a Gatling gun. Patiently and meticulously the complete story is being formed. For the impatient viewer it appears as if it takes ages to finish. Of course there’s the rudeness and inclemency both contextual as textual. And the usage of extravagant humor. And finally, the excessive, violent and bloody climax. These are usually the fixed elements that recur in a Tarantino. Except that each film is placed in a different setting.
But as a true Tarantino fan, again I can only conclude this was an exquisite film and I enjoyed it full three hours. I’m already looking forward to the next movie. Hopefully Quentin seeks an alternative approach, in such a way that he can surprise me again.