Another Christmas, another holiday I give into my Jewish roots and take a trip to the movies followed by Chinese food and family. Only this year, I got the opportunity to travel back to the 1950s with what was my first roadshow. Roadshows were basically just big events for premieres of movies that people would dress in their Sunday best for. The roadshow would include a pamphlet for the film you were seeing and would begin with an overture and include an intermission halfway through the film. Quentin Tarantino decided for his eighth film, a western, that he would shoot and present it in 70mm projected film in only 100 theaters on Christmas. Naturally on Christmas I went to one of the most prominent Jewish locations in Massachusetts… Brookline.
The Hateful Eight (2015) is the eighth film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and his second attempt at the western genre. It starts out in the snowy winter of Wyoming some time after the Civil War and Kurt Russell, a bounty hunter, is transporting a prisoner played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. They come across Samuel L. Jackson who is also a bounty hunter and eventually they end up at in a cabin with other people caught up in a terrible blizzard. So now we have eight people in the same room. Naturally, something suspicious goes down and now these eight people cannot trust one another and the tension begins.
The film is basically a game of Clue that takes place in the west with Tarantino’s all too familiar writing style. It’s clear as always that Tarantino is up to speed with the western genre as he takes notes from classic western directors like John Ford. I will say I enjoyed that this western was more of an American Classic as opposed to a Spaghetti Western like Django Unchained (2012) was. I think both are entertaining movies without a doubt; but I like that there were certain qualities Hateful Eight had that Django didn’t and vice versa. Like many westerns, Tarantino stretches the tension as far as it can go. Matter of fact, a gun isn’t even fired until halfway through the movie!
The first half of the movie is a slow burn for sure; but it’s a slow burn with Tarantino characters giving Tarantino dialogue. I gotta hand it to Tarantino, too, because he always gets the best performances out of his actors. Tim Roth was easily my favorite character of the movie, however literally everyone get’s a moment to shine and it’s nice when no one is shafted.
The music in this is incredible as well. Ennio Morricone composed the score and this was actually his first western in 40 years that he composed (The previous one being Buddy Goes West (1981)). The score just puts you on the edge of your seat and gives you anxiety even. Like I listened to it today while I was shoveling and I thought my brother was gonna come up and shoot me. Intense stuff!
Overall, The Hateful Eight establishes that Quentin Tarantino has not lost a step in his dialogue and character arcs. The film is gloriously shot in 70mm and getting to go and see the road show was a treat in its own. I felt like I was back in the 1950s with the overture, to the intermission, to the 24 frames per second flickering through a projector creating an illusion of movement.
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Awesome
I gave The Force Awakens the edge because, well, c’mon it’s Star Wars. It’s a chilling experience with suspense, charisma, and a bloody great finale. If you’re a fan of Tarantino, you’ll love it. If you hate the guy and think he’s a farce, then you’ll probably be very… Hateful… Towards it?
IMAGES: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/film/hatefuleight/hatefuleight-xlarge.jpg, http://cdn.hitfix.com/photos/6086307/KurtRussellSamuelLJacksonHatefulEight.jpg, http://www.ew.com/sites/default/files/i/2015/07/11/thehateful8-teaser-poster.jpeg