The Hateful Eight ★★★★

Cozying up in Minnie's Haberdashery with eight strangers for an hour was quite the occasion, especially when presented on such a grand scale as 70mm. While the titled “Hateful Eight” provide quite the show, there is another character ever present throughout the entire film: Quentin Tarantino himself. While he may not grant us with quite as obvious of a cameo as in some of his other films (ie. Django Unchained) his hand is ever present within The Hateful Eight.

While this is undeniably and vivacious of a film as many other of Tarantino’s, it, in its earlier half, remains fairly subdued. Tarantino's aspiration of adapting The Hateful Eight into a stage production seems rather relevant within the quartered off halls of the haberdashery, leaving much of the action to lie within such a confined space. Where Django Unchained (2012) and Inglourious Basterds (2009) traverse countless locations almost always ending in a flurry of bloodshed, The Hateful Eight replaces those intense events with an ever rising tension through the first half. A tension very reminiscent of John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). The film simmers, then boils, then explodes with a heat and acceleration that is hard to stop.

Now naturally this slow acceleration of tension allows Tarantino to do what he does best and show off his way with words. While his mastery of dialogue is ever present, it seems the film gets a bit over indulgent with its repeated use anecdotes and metaphors, very reminiscent of Inglorious Basterds opening scene, but at the same time seem to be an attempt at rehashing that utter amazement. None of the conversations are boring by any means, but they certainly drag on the films nearly 3 hour run time.

This is perhaps one of Tarantino's best shot films. The breathtaking vistas of the Wyoming countryside are truly awe inspiring shot on such a wide format as 70mm. That wide view also provides a true sense of claustrophobia when we sit in the snowed in cabin. We can see several characters at once on a screen, and due to the overall sense of paranoia that the film provides, our eyes naturally dart across the humongous screen. The colors are stunning, keeping an overall grey tone with hints of other bright colors defining certain characters.

At the end of the day the biggest question to ask is if the movie is entertaining, and the answer is yes. Does it meet up with the criteria that define the “Tarantino-verse”? Well let's find out. Is the dialogue snappy and fun? Yes, while being a bit gluttonous at times. Are the characters memorable? Yes, all the characters for the most part a memorable visions and moments within the film. Are the intense moments really intense? Absolutely.

While I may quibble for a while on where this stacks up in my list of Tarantino’s movies, all I know is that I want to watch it again soon. And that’s a pretty good sign.