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Screen Time: The Hateful Eight

Brian O'Rourke

Brian O'Rourke

Brian O'Rourke lives in sunny San Diego, but you're more likely to find him in a dark cinema than on a beach. A few of his favorite movies are Hitchcock's PSYCHO, Peter Bogdanovich's WHAT'S UP, DOC?, and Jacques Demy's THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG. Late on weekend nights O'Rourke is usually watching old horror movies, a hobby he's enjoyed for over 40 years.
Brian O'Rourke

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The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

Quentin Tarantino’s eighth movie, THE HATEFUL EIGHT, is long-winded, poky, profane, ultraviolent, obnoxious, revolting and outrageous. In other words, it’s exactly what you’d expect from Tarantino. And it is also the most fun I’ve had at the movies during the entire year of 2015!

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

L to R, Kurt Russell (John Ruth), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Daisy Domergue) and Bruce Dern (General Sanford Smithers)
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

A Western, a mystery, an action thriller and a dissertation on race relations in America, THE HATEFUL EIGHT is Tarantino biting off much more than he can chew and gleefully spitting it all over the movie screen. In big widescreen images and vibrant bloody colors, with a saddle full of bad words and racial slurs. If Tarantino has offended you with his movies in the past, stay home: He’s coming in even closer for the kill here. And while he has become even more of a wild shot with his consistent themes, Tarantino has refined his skill as a director.
Do not think I’m exaggerating when I say that THE HATEFUL EIGHT is one of the most beautifully photographed films I have ever seen. The cinematography is magnificent, and QT no longer mimics his heroes — Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma, Sergio Leone, Martin Scorsese, William Friedkin, Francis Ford Coppola, Howard Hawks — but rivals them with his own visual poetry.

 

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Quentin Tarantino
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

I’m not going to say anything about THE HATEFUL EIGHT’s story other than what you probably already know: Just after the Civil War, eight strangers from both sides of the law are trapped together in a Wyoming lodge during a nasty blizzard. Tarantino loves to shoot long scenes of conversations, and his actors are all up to the task.

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Samuel L. Jackson as Major Marquis Warren
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Samuel L. Jackson is a pro with Tarantino’s unique dialogue rhythms, as are returning QT vets Kurt Russell, Walter Goggins, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen and Tim Roth. But it’s Jennifer Jason Leigh who shines the most here in her Tarantino debut. Like the movie, she is riotously funny, shockingly vulgar and full of nasty surprises.

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

I think her character, Daisy Domergue, may well be my favorite from the cinema this year. One of Tarantino’s very favorite movies is also one of mine — Brian De Palma’s 1976 version of CARRIE with Sissy Spacek. In many of his movies he finds a strikingly visual way to tip his hat to that movie. In THE HATEFUL EIGHT, the reference involves Leigh and it is horrifically funny. It also exposes Tarantino’s heart and sentiment amidst all the bullets, blood, gore and epithets: He knows and loves nothing more than movies and wants to share that knowledge and love with his audience.

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Quentin Tarantino directs Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Roth
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

A man of my own heart.

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Quentin Tarantino
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

Random non-spoiler thoughts about THE HATEFUL EIGHT after the second viewing:
— If you have the option to see it in 70mm CinemaScope, do it! There is a big difference from the regular digital version. Gorgeous … and we could hear the projector whirring in the beginning, like old times!

 

 

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Quentin Tarantino
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

— The entire cast is great. Jennifer Jason Leigh as accused murderess Daisy Domergue is still my favorite, but on second viewing I’m blown away by how fucking great Walton Goggins (pictured here) is as The Sheriff! Amazing, funny as hell, and a bloody fantastic character arc.

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Walton Goggins as Sheriff Chris Mannix
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

— Speaking of Jennifer Jason Leigh, as much as I adored her performance and character the first time, watching the movie a second time really reveals just how remarkable a performance it is. Academy Awards recognize!

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

— Not sure how I missed this the first time, but Tarantino seems to use John Carpenter’s 1982 horror/science fiction classic THE THING as a road map for THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Obviously Kurt Russell is the star of both, but it goes deeper, thematically and visually, than that.

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Kurt Russell as John Ruth
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

— And kudos to Tarantino for the lovely references to Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING. — The movie is told in chapters. I read somewhere the last is a complete homage to director Brian De Palma. It is indeed. The direction, the blocking, the camera angles, the lovely (and technically difficult) split diopter shots, the pacing, the music, what happens … even specific movements and gestures. I mentioned CARRIE in my earlier, but also BLOW OUT, SISTERS, THE FURY, DRESSED TO KILL … yep, all there in a Western!

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Bruce Dern as General Sanford Smithers
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

— Ennio Morricone’s score is brilliant and perfect. — THE HATEFUL EIGHT is going to rank very, very highly in my favorites of Tarantino’s eight movies.

 

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Michael Madsen as Joe Gage
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Tim Roth as Oswaldo Mobray
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

— Hercule Poirot. If you don’t know who he is, watch MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

Demián Bichir as Bob
The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

 

 

— Did I already tell you to see THE HATEFUL EIGHT? Well, what are you fucking waiting for?!

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino The Hateful Eight Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company

The Eighth Film by Quentin Tarantino
The Hateful Eight
Courtesy of ©The Weinstein Company