HOLLYWOOD—Quentin Tarantino, what can I say about this man. He doesn’t make movies that often, but when he does they are always the buzz of the town. I loved “Kill Bill Volume 1” and I thought “Kill Bill Volume 2” was even better. “Inglorious Basterds” was a revelation and frankly “Django Unchained” was unlike anything audiences ever saw on the big screen.
His latest outing “The Hateful Eight” is a flick that I thoroughly enjoyed a lot more than I expected. I’ll admit I was completely thrown by the running time for the flick which clocks in just over 3 hours. Yes, that is a very long time to be in a theater seat. However, if a flick is good, the time will not matter. Is that the case here, without a doubt!
If I truly had to categorize “The Hateful Eight” I would call it a collaboration of a western, dark comedy, drama and sprinkles of action. Go into this movie with as little expectation as possible. That is the demeanor I had while entering the theater and once the movie got beyond a somewhat slow first act, I was glued to that theater screen and on the edge of my seat. The movie revolves around John Ruth aka ‘The Hangman’ portrayed by a funny Kurt Russell. Russell infuses a bit of wit into a character that you shouldn’t like, but you appreciate his down to Earth approach.
He is on the journey to turn in fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the town of Red Rock for execution. This is a character that has a sharp-witted tongue and the audience is not informed too much about her backstory, beyond the fact that she is extremely dangerous. I will admit with Leigh being the only female character of relevance in a male-dominated film, she holds her own. I’m definitely advocating a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the actress who hasn’t been seen in a high-profile flick in quite some time.
Another notable player in the flick is bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) who stumbles across Daisy and John in his quest to deliver the bodies of three outlaws to the town of Red Rock as well. Warren and Ruth have a bit of history with one another which is slightly alluded to in the beginning of the movie. Ruth trusts Warren and Warren trusts Ruth. That dynamic is vital so pay attention people. Other notable characters along the line include Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern), Marco the Mexican (Demian Bichir), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) and Joe Gage (Michael Madsen). What Tarantino does well with the flick is set the stage to cast suspicion on every single character. No one quite knows who can and who cannot be trusted, which delivers on a heightened narrative that leaves the spectator on the edge of his or her seat.
When you take a bunch of kooky characters and lock them inside close quarters, you’re bound to get quarrels, fights, deaths and a lot more that the viewers will least expect. Did I find anything phenomenal about the 70 mm format of the flick? Not really, but with any Tarantino flick the audience should enter the theater on the edge of caution. Period: this is NOT a flick for kids. The level of violence and dialogue alone should prevent anyone under the age of 15 from watching the movie if you ask me.
I thought “Django Unchained” broke a record for the most times the ‘N-word’ was used in a flick, but “The Hateful Eight” takes the crown. I literally can’t remember how many times the characters dropped the word in the first 45 minutes of the movie. It was quite unfathomable to say the least. That might be my only transgression with the flick. I know the narrative takes place in the late 1800s, but what the hell was Quentin hoping to achieve to have such foul language just riddled in the movie so much. It’s likely to offend some African-Americans to a degree and will likely offend other races as well.
The argument can also be made that the flick is a bit misogynistic towards women. I mean the few times that Daisy got smacked around by John Ruth left me slightly speechless for a few moments. If you can forgive the crude language, vicious treatment of women and the brutal, bloody final act, “The Hateful Eight” is bearable to watch. It’s a lot to take in I must admit, but those seeing a Tarantino flick should expect nothing less to say the least. This is what the filmmaker does, he loves to provoke us and this movie does all of that by raising questions about racism in America, slavery, the Civil War, violence, treatment of women and the use of one of the most controversial terms in American history, the ‘N-word.’
I must say “The Hateful Eight” was perhaps one of the most entertaining, dynamic flicks I’ve seen in the year 2015. I’ve seen a lot of movies in 2015, and right now “The Hateful Eight” might be one of the best flicks of the year. Trust, I rarely use that terminology when ranking a movie.