Bounty hunters seek shelter from a raging blizzard and get caught up in a plot of betrayal and deception.
The Hateful Eight is an epic film. Epic the way Ben-Hur was epic. It’s filmed on rare Ultra Panavision 70. The film crew altered Modern cameras to work with UP70. Quentin Tarantino knew there were two types of film viewers. Those who would see his film as he intended and those who would not. Tarantino isn’t an idiot and knows people will pirate his and watch it on devices he can’t control [Note 1]. To combat this Tarantino made a version of the film which requires viewing in a theatre. He did this with the 70mm roadshow production of The Hateful Eight.
The roadshow production of The Hateful Eight is a great experience. I was born in 1981, after roadshow theatrical releases fell out of popularity so I’ve never experience a roadshow theatrical release. Roadshow theatrical releases were (or are) a limited engagement showing of a movie before general release. The Hateful Eight’s roadshow includes a beautifully produced souvenir program — already available on Ebay. The lights go out fifteen minutes prior to the film starting and no previews are shown. Roadshows aren’t their to advertise. Their purpose is to wow you with The Hateful Eight in 70mm.
I was only eleven when Reservoir Dogs was released and thirteen when Pulp Fiction was released. Arguably, a little too young to watch these films. Although I knew what sex was and how it worked, My young mind didn’t know about paraphilia or unusual sexual interests. I don’t think I even had a working idea of how homosexual sex worked. This would have made watching scenes from Pulp Fiction rather difficult for me at that age. [Note 2]
Unlike many, I saw Reservoir Dogs before Pulp Fiction. Although I like the editing style of Pulp Fiction, I think Reservoir Dogs is a better film. What makes Reservoir Dogs great is the lack of financing. Financial constraints didn’t limit Tarantino and Reservoir Dogs is dialogue heavy with very impactful scenes revolving around a single location: The Warehouse.
The high-level idea of The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino’s Eighth film, which implies the title is deliberate, is about a bounty hunter escorting a prisoner (the only female in the film) to “hang by the neck until they are dead” in Red Rock. However, a blizzard prevents the prisoner from reaching the final location and the prisoner along with eight others are stuck in a single room: Minnie’s Haberdashery.
The Hateful Eight is filmmaking at it’s finest. Like Reservoir Dogs it could have been a theatrical production. It didn’t have to be a movie. If there are special effects they aren’t noticeable. There is violence and blood, which you expect, but comparing to other Quentin Tarantino’s films it’s tame. There is no dancing to a radio tune while Michael Madsen conducts a horrific act. But, the strongest story-telling scene will stick with you. A flashback overlaid with a monologue performed by Samuel L. Jackson that demonstrates the artistic ability of Tarantino. The editing between Major Warren’s narrative and what General Smithers envisions can only be told with film. The scene contrasts the alluring story with the distasteful act. A compliment to the editor who doesn’t pull you out of the monologue, but enhances it.
I’ve only seen, read, or heard a few interviews with Tarantino, but I don’t get the impression he does anything on accident. Tarantino puts too much thought into his ideas and works. When Bret Easton Ellis interviewed Tarantino he stated:
> My scripts are meant to be read.
> [The Bride] has stashed all this shit in the ground. So, she is going to dig a hole and pull up a footlocker and it will have passports, money, and weapons. All the things she will need for her revenge. But, the way I have it written in the script is she needs to find a rock and turn it over to find an ‘X’ on the rock. She turns over the rock and finds the ‘X’.
> If the ‘X’ hadn’t have been there or if she couldn’t have found rock, she would have taken it as a sign that her revenge never should happen and she would have dropped the whole idea.
These are things you can’t show on film.
You get this same type of feeling when watching The Hateful Eight. It is hard to imagine that Tarantino didn’t have a few one-on-one days with each actor explaining to their character’s fully-developed backstory which isn’t depicted in the film. Only additional viewings will explain each characters motives.
Many of my college friends who enjoyed Kill Bill Volume One didn’t like Kill Bill Volume Two even though Kill Bill Volume Two is the stronger of the two films. The reason? The dialogue. The dialogue is the best part of The Hateful Eight. Although The Hateful Eight is three hours long you don’t feel it. The film engrosses you with the characters, their conversations, and the conflict between them. The acting is superb.
My wife said that this is her favorite Quentin Tarantino film. I don’t know if I disagree and although Reservoir Dogs holds a special place with me, The Hateful Eight is a much more mature film. Tarantino has had 23 years to perfect his craft and it shows. Although I liked Django Unchained, it isn’t as good as The Hateful Eight.
The Hateful Eight may be one of the better films I’ve seen in the past few years.
_Note 1: Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves is a piece of art as much as a novel. But, there isn’t a digital version. This is deliberate. Danielewski can’t determine a way for readers to digitally consume the book. Contrary to what you expect, this control is more easily achieved with print than film._
_Note 2: Like all Quentin Tarantino’s movies, The Hateful Eight isn’t for children. Quentin Tarantino is great because of his dedication to his art. Tarantino made a purposeful choice to not have a relationship or children because it would affect his art. I wonder if his decision is partially due to discussions around the dinner table about what Daddy does without showing them. I don’t know if Tarantino has actually thought about the ramifications of raising a child in the dark to his art until a certain age. Maybe he hasn’t. But, If I was in his shoes, I would have internal conflict about not wanting to twist my kid’s minds until they were of age to deal with my creations. But, I am probably projecting._
The Weinstein Company, Double Feature Films, FilmColony by Quentin Tarantino.
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Keywords: bounty hunter wyoming mountain narration hangman whodunit stagecoach blizzard post civil war 19th century
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