In Review: The Hateful 8
The Hateful Eight, the 8th film from Oscar winning director Quentin Tarantino, is currently showing at the Perth Playhouse. Pick up some popcorn and nachos and enjoy the latest effort from the man behind Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds.
Set in Wyoming in the years following the Civil War, The Hateful Eight takes place over the course of one day and night in a secluded cabin in the midst of a blizzard. Taking shelter are a ragtag band of criminals and lawmakers, each one more different than the last but all bound by their complete lack of morality.
There’s Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson), an ex-slave turned bounty hunter whose notoriety stretches across the former Confederacy; John Ruth (Kurt Russell), fellow bounty hunter who’s determined to bring his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the hangman alive; former criminal turned sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins); flamboyant Englishman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), enigmatic Mexican Bob (Demian Bichir), quiet loner Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and former Confederate general Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern). With such a melting pot of personalities and a whole lot of guns, it’s not long before tensions explode.
Tarantino has made a career out of homages to the genres he loves dearly, often recreated or subverted in his own oft-imitated style. Inglourious Basterds took the well-worn World War 2 story and revitalized it with a mixture of pulp action, fairytale, revenge fantasy and black comedy. Django Unchained followed similar vengeful routes while balancing thriller-like tension with bracing revisionist history and also offering the most piercing take-down of the Southern gentleman trope seen in modern film. The Hateful Eight is more traditional Western fare than its predecessors, but with a touch of Agatha Christie. A group of mysterious people find themselves locked in a room together and they must figure out who the worst of the bunch is.
And that’s no mean feat given that every single one of the aforementioned eight is as hateful as the title suggests. If you’re looking for a movie with a hero to root for, this is not it. This lack of moral compass offers Tarantino limitless opportunities to explore the absolute depths of human behaviour, and he’s delighted to do so. Coarse insults are traded, guns are fired and blood is spilled. A lot of blood is spilled!
This is arguably Tarantino’s most ambitious script, with each character seemingly representing part of the historical and cultural American landscape from the Civil War onwards. The stagey dialogue highlights these brutal oppositions and the irrevocable scars they’ve left, and Tarantino is merciless in showing their repercussions. It’s clear the cast are having an absolute ball, with Walton Goggins and Jennifer Jason Leigh (who received an Oscar nomination for her work here) the standouts from a universally strong bunch.
Clocking in at 3 hours long, this is not a movie for the impatient, but it is a gorgeous one on a visual level. Harking back to Hollywood’s Golden Age and the work of noted directors like John Ford, there are many moments of snowy landscapes and horse driven carriages braving the killer weather, racing against the incoming blizzard. Accompanied by a beautiful score by the legendary Ennio Morricone, this is certainly the most aesthetically arresting of Tarantino’s films.
If you’re a fan of Tarantino, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for with The Hateful Eight – a furious, violent and fast-talking frenzy of a film, with boatloads of ambition. It’s guaranteed to be one film everyone will be talking about.
For cinema time at the Playhouse Perth click HERE