A frustrating stand-off
THE HATEFUL EIGHT (R18+)
Director : Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) Starring : Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Channing Tatum, Walton Goggins. Verdict: A big picture lacking a little something
YOU should know by now whether you carry the Quentin Tarantino movie gene.
If the likes of Pulp Fiction or Django Unchained left you cold, then nothing will warm you to The Hateful Eight.
However, even if you are a fully paid-up Tarantino tragic, his latest work demands you cough up something extra to extract full value from the experience.
This time around, you had better bring along all the patience you can muster – and perhaps some forgiveness as well – or The Hateful Eight will not meet your heightened hopes.
Though carrying all the hallmarks of a major-event release, this is very much a minor entry in Tarantino’s impressive career to date.
More of a Death Proof or Jackie Brown than a Reservoir Dogs or Inglourious Basterds.
The story takes place several years after the close of the Civil War, on a mountain pass in remote region of Wyoming.
It is here we find Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a ferallooking woman chained to the wrist of badass bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell).
Daisy has a five-figure price on her head, and a coming appointment with the hangman once her captor can haul her back to civilisation.
However, with the already-wintry weather about to turn savage, the pair must take cover with some fellow travellers (including Samuel L. Jackson as another bounty hunter with his own collection of criminal carcasses to cash-in) at a coach stop called Minnie’s Haberdashery.
Almost everyone cooped up at Minnie’s is familiar with each other: either by reputation (Daisy has connections to an infamous gang) or inclination (just one look at characters played by the likes of Tim Roth and Michael Madsen screams “no-good sum-bitches”).
What follows in The Hateful Eight is a talky battle of wits, interspersed with bursts of bloodletting that would make a serial killer blush. The overall effect is never less than entertaining, but never quite as energised or essential as Tarantino’s finest works.
If there is an elephant in the room regarding The Hateful Eight, it is determining why the filmmaker has chosen to stage so much of it in a single room.
Remember, Tarantino has been kicking up a major fuss everywhere about preserving the virtues of traditional widescreen cinema for generations to come.
However, for all his talk of a return to an analog artistry that has disappeared with the advent of all-digital camera and projection systems, there can be no ignoring the possibilities offered by an expanded frame are largely wasted here.