Quentin Tarantino returns with his eighth film, a cinematic stage play set in the Wild West during a blizzard. John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) is transporting a dangerous prisoner, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh, who steals many a scene from her higher profile male costars), when he runs into a fellow bounty hunter, Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson). With a blizzard on the way, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and bright-eyed Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins, a welcome sight, as his run as Boyd Crowder on FX’s “Justified” is now over) take refuge in Minnie’s Haberdashery, which is currently occupied by a motley crew—Mexican Bob (Demian Bechir), hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), cowpuncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and Confederate general Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern).
Tarantino has the most fun he has ever had with genre, history and movie history. The extremely bloody, comic, western mystery is like John Carpenter’s The Thing (even cribbing some of Ennio Morricone’s score) meets Agatha Christie; consider this And Then There Were (Briefly) Eight. With all the fuss being made about Tarantino shooting in 70 mm, his Hateful Eight is really just a one-set play. Sure, the establishing shots of the frontier and the blizzard look gorgeous in 70-mill. Otherwise, the stars are the actors and, as usual, QT’s snappy dialogue—some of his best since Jackie Brown. (Be warned: Tarantino sprinkles the n-word more liberally throughout this film than usual.) Between QT’s quips, whipped about by vets like Russell, Jackson and the others, moviegoers are likely to never have as much fun at a nearly three-hour movie. I already cannot wait for Tarantino’s ninth film.
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