Ever since it was announced that Quentin's next film was going to be another western, I couldn't have been more excited. DJANGO UNCHAINED was such a beautiful film, that I wanted more. And it's rare that Tarantino repeats himself. Two westerns in a row? But like I suspected, THE HATEFUL EIGHT is nothing like his previous film. It is indeed a western, but the look and feel is something else entirely.
Bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth is on his way into Red Rock to see his bounty hang. One Daisy Domergue, wanted dead or alive for $10,000. And when John the Hangman catches you, you hang. The road to Red Rock is a treacherous one. You see, Ruth and his prize are aboard a six-horse carriage racing to beat a massive snow storm. They aren't going to make it, so stopping at Minnie's Haberdashery is the destination for now.
Along the way to Minnie's the stagecoach picks up two more passengers, bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren and Chris Mannix, the new sheriff (allegedly) of Red Rock.
When they arrive to Minnie's they are greeted by unfamiliar faces; Bob, who is taking care of the place while Minnie is away. There is Oswalso Mobray, a hangman, along with Joe Gage, just your regular cow puncher. And finally we have confederate general Sanford Smithers.
From the get go John Ruth doesn't trust any of these strangers, and lets it be known in a manner of speaking. The Major himself has his suspicions. Tensions become high as the eight begin to wonder who is going to make it till morning, if any of them at all!
DJANGO UNCHAINED was a fairy-tale like Spaghetti Western. Django, the films protagonist goes through proverbial hell-fire to save his wife Broomhilda. Taking place under the backdrop of a Sergio Corbucci style Spaghetti Western. Which tend to be more politically charged and violent than the more popular Leone westerns.
While definitely having the classic trademarks of a Spaghetti Western, THE HATEFUL EIGHT is different. For starters it has this grandiose 1960's feel to it. Unfortunately I was unable to see the film in glorious 70mm. But even in the multiplex version you can sense that Tarantino was influenced by 60's cinema. And not only cinema, but 1960's television as well.
That's only half of what makes THE HATEFUL EIGHT unique. The rest is made up of two other genres. The first being the thriller genre. Quentin has his own TEN LITTLE INDIANS going on here. And the final ingredient, is a dash of horror. Yes, THE HATEFUL EIGHT could be considered Tarantino's take on JOHN CARPENTER'S THE THING. The proof is on the screen. You've got Kurt Russell, snow, isolation, claustrophobia, and trust issues. The film even has unused score music from Carpenter's film! How cool is that!
Okay, I apparently suck at math because two halves make a whole but I'm not done talking about what else makes this movie amazing. The cast and just how well most if not all of them sing Tarantino's wonderful dialogue! Everyone is great but in my opinion it's Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, and Samuel L. Jackson who really shine here. Walton is on the fast track to becoming my favorite actor working today!
THE HATEFUL EIGHT is very much like a play, and reads like one as well. I've thumbed through the screenplay while drinking coffee at the bookstore and breeze through my favorite monologues over and over again. Once you find that rhythm of the dialogue, it truly becomes like music. And it's the “bad notes” in the dialogue that keeps things interesting and original.
I'll admit, just then I was trying to sound all smart and cool, but probably came off as sounding crazy or weird. I'd be better off just saying Tarantino writes his dialogue extremely rhythmically and leave it at that.
Three of my favorite films of last year; STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS, MAD MAX FURY ROAD, and THE HATEFUL EIGHT have all been at one time my number 1 film of 2015. Yesterday it was THE FORCE AWAKENS, but today it's HE HATEFUL EIGHT.
*THE HATEFUL EIGHT started out as Book One in a series of Django paperbacks that Tarantino was going to write. He thought that the story he was writing did not fit the Django character, so scraped the idea and altered into the screenplay/movie we know today. I really hope he writes those Django paperbacks one day, I cannot wait for something like that!