Kurt Russel is a bounty hunter taking the captured Jennifer Jason Leigh to hang in the town Red Rock. However due to a large blizzard he is forced to spend the next few nights shacked up with a number of other characters, namely: Samuel L. Jackson – another bounty hunter – ,Walton Goggins – the new sheriff of Red Rock – ,Demian Bichir – a Mexican – ,Tim Roth – an Englishman – ,Bruce Dern – an old confederate army general – and Michael Madsen – a bloke with a hoarse voice. Then it all gets messy.
I have found Tarantino’s most recent films Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained to be something of disappointments – Django is a good 40 minutes too long, and because they all come at the end of the film it leaves a bad taste in the mouth and Inglourious was just plain meh. And The Hateful Eight didn’t fill me with hope in the first half an hour because it really does drag its feet to begin with. However once we arrive in Minnie’s haberdashery (the shed in which the rest of the drama will play out), it is gripping and tense until the end. After the slow first half an hour my immersion was never broken other than the two moments at which Quentin decides to narrate the film, a cameo that is only acceptable when compared to his Australian accent in Django.
Performances here are nearly excellent with the possible exception of Michael Madsen, but in fairness to him it seems like his only instructions were to be kind of gruff. Samuel L. Jackson is excellent and really the only character you care for during the film. He is the reason that you remain hooked and his central charisma allows everyone else to go off chewing the scenery. And that is exactly what Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Demian Bichir do especially. Tim Roth is exceedingly creepy and over-British imagine Christoph Waltz only from Windsor, Jennifer Jason Leigh looks completely unhinged grinning away with this wide grin missing teeth and covered in blood. Demian Bichir however almost steals the film and is the funniest character as the grumbling squinting Mexican would-be stand in host of Minnie’s Haberdashery.
But the true hero of The Hateful Eight is Ennio Morricone. His score is sensational, it manages to up the ante on every single emotion felt throughout the film whether that be suspense, humour or wonder Morricone makes you feel it more. He draws you in with his initial overture and doesn’t let you out from his grasp whenever the score plays. And of course Tarantino picks the correct songs for each instance – something he manages for every one of his movies. Honestly I would advise anyone to watch The Hateful Eight just for the soundtrack, if it weren’t for the fact that’s also a very enjoyable movie anyway. For my money Tarantino’s best since he made Jackie Brown, although it isn’t as good as any of his first three movies.