Set a few years after the Civil War, in the freezing winters of Wyoming, the film starts with a stage coach carrying John ‘The Hangman’ Ruth (Kurt Russel) a famous bounty hunter carrying his latest catch, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock for a $10,000 reward. The coach is stopped by ex army veteran –now-turned-bounty hunter, Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) who is ferrying his own 3 bodies. They reluctantly help out a racist, soon to be Sheriff of Red Rock, Chris Mannix (Walter Goggins) who is stuck in the snow due to an oncoming blizzard. The 4 of them make it to a joint called Minnie’s Haberdashery, to escape the blizzard, to find the Minnie not there, but 4 other guests receiving them. They meet Bob, the Mexican stage hand (Demian Bechir), a lonely, imposing cowboy Joe Cage (Michael Madsen), a Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) and the Englishman Oswaldo Mowbray (Tim Roth), who happens to be the local hangman. So here you have it, THE HATEFUL EIGHT.
Tarantino is at his usual self when it comes to the scripting department. So like Reservoir Dogs, no one is as simple as they seem. There is a back story to each character and an undercurrent of deceit and mistrust amongst all. The movie, inspite of being shot on 70mm gives you a very claustrophobic feeling, confined to only 2 locations, one the stage coach and the other being the haberdashery. Loosely giving the feeling of Ten Little Indians, one does feel that in the second half of this 3 hour film, the scripting could have been a bit more deft, giving more grit to characters like Joe Cage and Mowbray, considering these 2 are repeated together after Reservoir Dogs and could have definitely delivered on that front. One does somehow miss Christopher Waltz on screen, considering he is Tarantino’s current favourite.
Tarantino’s grip as a director though is flawless. Be it the manner he has used Ennio Morricone’s original music as a definitely 9th character, or the minute depth and detail that he captures in each frame. Needless to say, like any other Tarantino film, the movie is dialogue heavy and THERE WILL BE BLOOD.
Russel in a lead character after I guess, Death Proof, is excellent. One could say his is the only character that comes across as honest. Walter Goggins is the scene stealer here. As the soon to be sheriff, looking for a father figure, his earnestness towards the General and uneasy equation with Warren, keep you on your toes throughout.
Tarantino favourite Jackson is again having a ball here. He gets some of the best dialogues and also the most provocative monologue in the film. The beauty is, he plays it with such ease, showing his comfort in hands of the director, who moulds him like clay in his films.
This film is definitely not for the faint hearted. But that is again a given for any Tarantino film. Politically incorrect, gory, violent not only in action but also in its brutal mentality, the film is definitely worth a watch. If you can grab it in 70mm, much better. Why it got snubbed at the Oscars, is anybody’s guess.
Does it have The Y Factor : YES
Rating : 4/5