The Hateful 8
‘When you get to hell, John, tell them Daisy sent you.’
Tarantino continues to re-write history with this self-referential Reservoir Dogs of the West. Taking place some time after the American Civil War, eight strangers comprising of outsiders, bounty hunters, former Confederates and a prisoner are forced to take shelter in a remote cabin as a fierce blizzard runs through.
The ultra-wide, 70mm shot scenes capture the vast landscape and hostile environment but chiefly offer an intimate look at the characters within Minnie’s Haberdashery. Tarantino re-evaluates America history in this anti-western as he refuses to romanticise whiteness or its failed depictions of American masculinity.
Bruce Dern and Samuel L. Jackson both play veterans with conflicting and sometimes mythological notions of what part they played in the war. There are no boundaries to the misogyny, racism and callous disregard for his characters and despite the three main stars all being in their 50’s, Tarantino doesn’t pull any punches.
The Hateful Eight includes the first original score for a Tarantino film, composed by Ennio Morricone who went on to win the Golden Globe for Best Original Score. The film is also teamed with an experienced cast who offer great performances. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern all boost the character driven film.
Tarantino’s universe continues to merge his love of history with contemporary themes of racism and violence that is not without its monologues and shock value scenarios. The Hateful Eight, however, has a wider dialogue in regards to issues of class, ethnicity and gender. They are not elaborate, judgmental or resolved, but they are genuine concerns.
The six-part western revival reads like a play. It underpins racial politics and contemporises the issues that will resonate with its intended audience. Despite the film being 3 hours 7 minutes long, during the AMC’s first screening of the film, the room shows no signs of popcorn or phone lit faces. The filmmaker's self-proclaimed 8th film is very much representative of his style and yet still relevant and suspenseful.