It was almost the film that never was, but when a writer/director like Quentin Tarantino sets a limit of only ten feature films in a lifetime, each one must be treated like the precious gem that it is. After a leaked draft of ‘The Hateful Eight’ screenplay made its way onto the internet a few years ago, Tarantino was hurt and dismayed. He decided to cut his losses, say c’est la vie, and move on. Luckily for us, that hiatus didn’t last too long. Quentin rallied, for the fans, for the art, and because Michael Madsen needed a paycheque. It got bigger, it got longer, it got 70mm.
The Roadshow release of ‘The Hateful Eight’ is not only screened in its intended 70mm format, but also includes an orchestrated overture, an intermission, and 20 extra minutes, resulting in an impressive 187-minute running time and a bonus program for its audience members. But on to the show itself...
‘The Hateful Eight’ takes place an indeterminate time after the Civil War, over a single night in Wyoming when a nasty blizzard traps a group, each on their way to Red Rock, in Minnie’s Haberdashery. Trust is tested and their agendas are slowly revealed, but not all are honourable. The group includes a bounty hunter (Kurt Russell) and his bounty (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a hangman (Tim Roth), a future sheriff (Walton Goggins), a Confederate general (Bruce Dern), a Mexican (Demián Bichir), a cowboy (Michael Madsen) and a former major, current bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson). It’s a long, cold night in Wyoming where tension is high and anything can happen.
Quentin Tarantino is nothing if not a master of dialogue. There aren’t many who can set a film in a single location with less than a dozen characters for three hours and not only make that work, but make it engaging and entertaining as hell. Tarantino always exhibits a certain degree of self-indulgent filmmaking, but that's because he is a filmmaker in the truest and most purest form. He makes film and cinema the way it's supposed to be made and now he’s screening it the way it’s supposed to be seen.
Quentin Tarantino is nothing if not a master of dialogue.
At 187/168 minutes long, ‘The Hateful Eight’ is unsurprisingly a slow burn. However, once those puzzle pieces start locking together the real fun begins, and the wit and violence we all know and love in a Tarantino film is unleashed.
‘The Hateful Eight’ is funny, shocking, disgusting and gruesome. Quentin is a master of his craft and this - his eighth film - is yet another to add to his growing yet limited list of masterpieces. Many of the cast are repeat Tarantinites, so you know it’s going to be good.